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The Grand Voyage of Life

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You stand outside your vessel as a crowd of trolls file inside in lines, all separated by color by their own wishes. You stifle a sigh, these motherfuckers are coming for conscription, all them being at eight sweeps. Was only six sweeps ‘go that Her Imperious Consideration won her reign, so you figure these young pupae still hold old thoughts in their pans. It’s fine, it’s chill. The grubs what aren’t old enough yet are getting their proper schoolhive knowledge onto the new ways, and these ones are ‘bout the hear at Her Imperious Consideration themselves so they’ll get their knowing on what is right soon.

There’s a disturbance in the lines as they embark and your attention snaps to it. You don’t know what the fuck happened, but two groups of trolls are snarling at each other, and the two in the center pull their weapons.

You step forward with a stomp, horns lowered and snarling as you bellow, “Hey!”

A shockwave of fear ripples through the crowd at your whim and they all go stock-still, looking at you. You toss your long curvy horns at all ‘em slightly in threat and continue your power-laced shout, “I don’t motherfuck care what happened but it’s best that it be dropped, and you get on the motherfucking ship in haste siblings! I don’t be wanting another outburst or tussle like that while you’re on my ship, under-motherfucking-stood?”

They all simultaneous show you respect and fear in their own ways.

The blue bloods go ramrod straight military salutes at you, all to be like, “Sir Highblood,” and, “Yes highblood.”

The purple bloods make at proper church deference to you, with bows that leave them looking like a square’s edge and reverent whisper of, “Grand Highblood.”

The others just look away and down, all quiet.

You stop your power as you pull your stance back to a slouching stand, arms crossed over your thorax and slight frown on your face. They all file in quicker than before, still organized and silent as death.

You go in last, after all the others manage to get on. You walk to the command center, walking past your chair, and tapping on the control screen. An electric laugh buzzes out the speakers before a cheerful but mechanical voice asks, “Ready to go?”

You huff and go to sit in your chair. “You know it Aradia,” you sit, leaning against the back of the chair with a sigh, “Wouldn’t get at bothering you for anything what wasn’t important.”

“Says the troll I distinctly remember bothering me to look at a dying star we were passing by!”

You lean forward, smirking, “You know you liked watching that shit go to ruins, come on, I know you sister.”

“True,” Aradia’s voice replies. “Seriously though, to the Interstellar compound?”

“Yea,” you say, “motherfuckers need to get schoolfed by our fishy sister something harsh.”

I’m more interested in seeing my diamond again!”

You hum then say, “Either way, I do not want these fuckers to spill blood nor do I wish to threaten at them again.”

“I’ll hurry then,” she says.

“Appreciate it.” You pause and frown, “Don’t be pushing at yourself though. Your moirail won’t be fucking happy at me if something happens to you.”

Aradia’s electric laugh bursts out high and bright, “Yes, yes, I hear you. Launching now.”

The ship lurches and you know she can do shit gentler than that. She’s just trying to mess with you, all a show of her strength with no regard on what you said. You squint, but let it go. She’s a hatefriend, yes, but you don’t get no saying over what she does nor how she does it. She ain’t your concern.

Chapter Text

You arrive quick ‘nough. Aradia played nice after the show of strength, so the ride was smooth and the landing was gentle. The trolls file out your ship with haste, wanting away from you. You don’t motherfucking blame them. You watch the last few spill out and make their way towards the assembly block. You hear steps behind you and turn to see Aradia sauntering her way out the place. She smiles, flat teeth flashing at you hatefriendly. You show a slight flash of teeth in a lopsided smirk, “Sup.”

Her helmsuit sticks to her skin like it is fused to it, her rust sign swooping along it, her hair long and curly like her horns. Dame’s beautiful for all you don’t have no feelings for her. “You normally don’t listen to the schoolfeeding, do you?”

You blink, “Nah. Figure I don’t gotta since I know what is the proper acts to be taking under the rule of Her Imperious Consideration.”

Aradia tilts her nugbone to the side in a mock shrug, “Maybe, but you’ve been doing this for a while! You should see the reactions of the pupa at least once! It’s hilarious.”

You snort, “Never thought on that. Figure they would make the most righteously funny faces at seeing upon the Kindness.”

Aradia grins wide and laughs like she has a secret, and for all the bluntness, seeing her teeth still sends an instinctive unease at feeling like you’re being threatened. Aradia bounds forward like a woolbeast, and you follow slowly. You enter the assembly block behind her and look on the huge crowd of trolls, but before you can look much more intently, a troll rushes up in your space, surrounded in red and blue flashing psionics. You hold your arms up slightly in defense and take a step back as they silently snarl sharp teeth and glare at you. One of their lookstubs is full red and the other is full blue, they have four horns total on their nugbone, they are wearing a helmsuit with a sign you don’t recognize crossing about it in yellow, their hair short and cropped.

You open your talk blaster, but they snap at you, “You’re the purple blood Aradia drives around?”

“Uh.”

Aradia walks over and waves a prong at the air between them, little mock paps, “It’s fine Sollux, I’ve told you that he’s nice!”

This ‘Sollux’ crosses their arms over their thorax and says, “I’ll decide if he’s nice or not.”

Well, you’re a dumb motherfucker but you know a protective moirail when you see one. Best to let Aradia deal with this. Aradia huffs and says, “Come on, he’s polite and mostly harmless!”

“He’s purple, Aradia,” Sollux hisses, sparks arcing off them.

“And your matesprit is fuchsia,” Aradia says with patience fond in her tone, “Now calm down. You must be there when she comes out, right? You might need to help.”

“She’s the Empress, you know, the one who made Alternia better. I have no reason to trust this guy, even if he wasn’t a purple blood,” Sollux says, carefully touching down to the ground despite his arguing, cutting off his psionics when his strut pods are solid on the ground. “And yeah, let me tell you, KK wants help.”

Sollux looks at you and you put your arms up further, this time a show of how you’re unarmed as you smile, tight lipped and harmless. A scowl, then a sharp, “You do anything to her, I swear to fuck.”

Sollux cuts off with a growl and bright lightening sparks. “Yeah,” you say quickly, “Didn’t really need to meet a motherfucker to get knowing on that.”

You see Sollux make a movement that could be them rolling their lookstubs? You ain’t all that sure. Hard to tell with how their lookstubs ain’t nothing but pure color. But they huff and say, “Good.”

They look at Aradia, “I have to go for now, but we’ll catch up after, all right?”

Aradia nods, “Sounds like fun!”

Sollux sparks on psionics and buzzes away, disappearing behind a door at the back of the block.

You blow air out your talk blaster and relax some. You look around the assembly block now that you ain’t being threatened. It’s motherfucking huge, filled with all the colors a troll can get to be having, and there’s a raised platform in the back with an electric broadcasting device standing on it.

The gathered trolls start to make a ruckus and a fuss, anger and tension, and the feeling of a fight waiting on the precipice.

The door Sollux disappeared behind opens. Sollux doesn’t come out it though, instead there’s another troll who seems to be having a conversation. They end their conversation by holding up a finger and walking out the door, closing it behind them. They are wearing black flexible armor that covers their arms, fronds, and even their neck. They have no color or sign on though, their hair is a bit long and spiky, small rounded horns atop their nugbone. They glare at the crowd what’s still making like to be about to fight, and they march onto the platform.

“Attention grubs,” they shout, voice booming over the crowd’s noise without even using the electric broadcasting device, gathering the aggravated attention of every troll. “I’m sure you’re all wondering what you’re doing here, why you were brought here, why I’m talking to you. The fact is that you are all dumb as shit and bricks cooked under the heat of the sun and baked to idiotic perfection.”

All the pupa bristle in unison, shouts and growls raising up, asking why they should listen and calling them out for not having sign or color. “Cease,” the troll snaps in an authoritative snarl. No one listens but the colorless troll speaks louder than anyone, “Shut the literal and figurative fuck up. No one gives a fuck what you think, or what you feel, or what you’re goddamn saying. No one here in the assembly block gives a fuck, no one on the planet gives a fuck, no one throughout the cosmos gives a fuck, and I especially don’t give a single blistering goddamn fuck!”

The last word rings against the walls and the trolls all quiet for a half a spec before roaring indignantly, and the shouting troll then continues louder still, “You shit spewing bucket guzzlers!”

The trolls all snap shut, mostly you’d figure over embarrassment over a bucket getting mentioned, but the troll goes on unaffected, waving about their arms for emphasis, “I will not repeat myself so shut your chagrin tunnels already. You are all idiots of the highest degree, I boggle at the amount of stupidity standing in front of me, disbelieving that so much flagrant incompetence can exist in one place let alone all at the same time. Yet here I stand, and the infernal vapors of fetid pungent smell, stupidity on top of a thousand other equally inane stupidities, is strong and nigh unmistakable. You all can’t even wrap your pans around one simple concept, you just sit there in absentminded dumb-fuckery, gawking on the concept of the hemospectrum not being the same as when the old Empress was still alive. Your sparing intellects assume the most ingratiating posture of surrender imaginable when broaching the subject of this honestly simple concept. You gape up at it like pan-dead drooling wigglers, sitting there quietly shitting your diaperstubs, as you see an intergalactic spaceship on fire crashing straight towards your hive and slowly bearing down on you. Except for the spaceship isn’t on fire or crashing, it’s in one goddamn piece and carefully landing on a flat area, bringing you gifts and presents as it diplomatically tries to help you understand one single grub-fucking thing. I mean, fuck, I would think it’s obvious that rules change with a new leader. For shit’s sake, you should be happy about that. The old Empress, I know you were young, so it may be hard to remember, but she was ruthless. At a wave of her fingers, every single one of you would be decapitated. ‘Off with their nugbones’ was not a joke despite what your shitty wiggler cartoons tell you, fuckheads. But no, you still somehow manage to not comprehend that, toolshed shitlords that you are. So, I will very clearly announce that if you say one more word about blood color while I’m up here, I will beat your useless huskcases to the floor thrice over with my bare prongs before you can blink. So get your goddamn act together so Her Imperious Consideration can talk to you.”

The pupa were in near reverent awe over the tirade, all shocked that one troll could get to speaking so motherfuck eloquent and insulting at the same time. Though you are in no state better, blinking at the troll in mystification, but least you don’t go all rigid fear at hearing the Empress’s title like the pupa do. Nope, you’re motherfuck stuck in stupefaction and like to stay there as the troll standing on the raised platform goes all fake innocence, “Oh, did I forget to mention that?”

The troll talks casual calm, “Yeah, see, she’s here to talk to you dumbshits and try to get you to understand her policies. But she can’t very well come out while some useless grubs flail about, trying to fight each other and be loud and disrespectful. In other words, to be frank and concise, she’s waiting on your dumbasses to fucking stop and behave yourselves.”

The troll spreads their prongs, “Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to keep the Empress waiting any longer then you all have already made her wait. Maybe that’s just me though.”

There’s absolute silence for a long, long minute before the troll on the platform nods, “Good, glad to see we all agree.”

There’s a slight pause before Feferi and Sollux walk out from behind the door. Feferi waves and smiles politely at everyone, all dolled up in a fancy fuchsia, white, and gold dress with her sign sprawled throughout, gold and colored jewelry alike hanging off her, crown upon her nugbone, hair near to trailing behind her in its length and waving and curling like water in the ocean, her horns long pointed outward curves. Royal as you’ve ever seen her.

The other troll stands at attention, off to the side and behind her while she stands in front of the electric broadcasting device. Sollux stands right beside her and she looks at the troll, saying, “Thanks for coral-ling these guppies crabcatch!”

The previously verbose troll now just grunts acknowledgement. Feferi turns to the crowd and speaks cheerfully into the electric broadcasting device, “Hello my school of new conch-scriptions! I hope you’re all excited because I am glubbing excited for you! This is a spe-shell night for you all!”

Feferi pauses but no one dares speak up, so she says, “First, let me introduce the three of us.”

She holds her prong up to gesture to herself, “Obviously, you know me. I’m Her Imperious Consideration, or just the Kindness, and I’m the Empress!”

She waves towards Sollux and says, “This is the Loadsman, he’s the helmsman of my battleship and the delegate for helmstrolls everywhere.”

She waves towards the other troll and says, “This is the Martinet, he’s the leader of my army and the leader of the threshecutioner flaysquads.”

Feferi grins, showing off her sharp shark-like teeth, “Now, let’s move on to some rules you might have not been aware of!”

Chapter Text

Once Feferi is finished, the trolls wander off in half a daze, probably to eventually find what jobs they want for to be in. Feferi gestures for you to come over so you do. Sollux, Aradia, and the Martinet are all standing around her.

“Hey sister what’s you get on to needing from me?”

Feferi looks at you with a smile, but before she can speak, Sollux asks, “This asshole is the Grand Highblood?”

“What I am being called is the Grand Pulpiteer in truth,” you mutter, not liking trolls thinking you identical to the old Grand Highblood.

Feferi pulls a face, “Please buoys, we're not retarded little wigglers anemone-more. We can all call each otter by our names. His name is Gamzee Makara and do you reel-ly think I’d tell your moray-eel to work with someone untrustworthy?”

“No,” Sollux grumps, “but that doesn't mean I have to trust him the first time I meet him.”

Feferi rolls her lookstubs, “Fine grumpy fangs!”

Feferi smiles at you again, “This is Sollux Captor. If you're lucky, he'll warm up to you eventually.”

You doubt it, but don't speak on it.You,” he hisses,can call me Captor.”

“Aight bro,” you smile mildly, “I'll be sure to be getting right onto that.”

He growls softly and yeah maybe it ain't the best idea to be at hatefriendly, but you ain't gonna just motherfucking rollover  ‘cause a brother is being at salty.

Someone clears their squeal pipette and you look to the noise. It's the verbose small horn troll what says, “As entertaining as this is, let's continue this zany rumpusblock round of introductions, shall we?”

You didn’t have no pan nor opportunity to get your careful notice on of them before with what distance there was, but now that they are all up and in your face real-time, you can notice something what you never thought you would have to have your notice turned to. Their lookstubs are filled with red color bright as sinful death. You’ve seen Aradia’s rusty red, the warmest color what a troll is meant to be having, and this sure the fuck ain’t the least bit being near to it. Ain’t the same hue or shade, at fucking all. Far too bright and clear to be in anything what isn’t some beast. But here it is, in their lookstubs and like fuck if they ain’t a troll.

The old teachings still reside in your pan, and they burn right the motherfuck now. For all you didn’t have care what when you were younger, you still remember the Condesce’s rubrics and instructions. You were a dumb as fuck sopor eating piece of shit half-pint trying at being a clown proper, wanting for to be a subjugglator though you had no real grasp on what such a thing meant you were expected to be doing. But you remember that mutants were slated for killing before even leaving the caverns.

You know other things too. You got the knowing on when you went to be what you thought you were meant to be. You know upon the heretic what was killed with blood just that shade, the one tortured to death on order of the Condesce and the old Grand Highblood, the troll all your siblings called your ancestor.

You cared naught for color nor caste when you were young, but it was wrought and brought to you when you were weaned of the toxic sludge you once thought would not cause a single issue to get at eating, when rage filled your core and station and color and power mattered a whole motherfucking lot to you suddenly in those moments. The ways what you had schoolfed to you by the Condesce when you were naught but a grubby pupa and the ways what family and church told you ring against your think pan, telling you to kill the heretic motherfucking mutant before they can spread their filth.

You ain’t the troll what once would listen to those voices without thought, lucky for this motherfucker. And though you ain’t got the naivety of it no longer, you still care not for color or caste ‘side from the haunts of old thoughts in your pan telling you to do things you ain’t got no want towards making happen.

Any ways, what matters is that they made their way past cavern trials and tribulations of living on a planet what would have them killed over naught but the smallest pinprick, the tiniest bruise, any motherfucking hint of color. Motherfucker got to be old enough to be showing color true in their lookstubs too, made it least to ten sweeps as is, breathing still. One might even think it to be a holy motherfucking joke of a miracle, that the heretic’s blood all got put into the slurry and came out a grub what works for the fuchsia Empress true.

So, your smile comes easy at the sinful divine joke as you say, “Sure. I'm being at named Gamzee Makara. Though I guess you're already at knowing that thanks to Feferi.”

The troll nods slightly, then says, “Karkat Vantas.”

“Good! That's great,” Feferi chimes. “Now that everyone's been introduced, I have some-fin important to say. Sea, there's a tiny problem Gamzee.”

“Aw, shit no,” you mutter, having an idea what it could be that she’d single you out for.

“Yes,” she says in awkward tone with long vowel. “Unfor-tuna-tely, per General Vantas’s flaysquad reports, some, ah, traditionalist church members are causing trouble.”

“No,” you whine out the word long and remorseful. “I told them motherfuckers,” you trail off with a sigh.

Feferi waves her prong dismissively, “Yes I know. Faith and religion is all a-boat believing, rules can't change what someone believes, all that glubbing carp.”

You keep your talk blaster tight shut and make not a motherfuck peep even though it feels like she stomped on your soul and ground it into the beach sand. “Point is,” Feferi continues, “I could use some help. They have crazy powers and you can tell us how to work around it. I'm requesting that you come off conch-scription duties and confer with General Vantas on how to defeat these anemones.”

“Them’s my family,” your talk blaster says with sharp pain stabbing your pump biscuit.

Feferi hums fake interest, “Yes well whatever that means, I'm shore that you can help me, right?”

Her voice makes it sound like a question, but you know it for being an order. She’s the Empress and you ain’t really got choice in this matter.

“I,” you halt and try to reign in the painful guilt of feeling like you're betraying your family, “yes. I can. I'll help.”

Feferi smiles, “Glad to hear it. Then you'll be coming with me on my battleship.”

She turns to Aradia without further word. “So, it's up to you what you do, you can obviously continue being a helmswoman, but I don't know if there’s another ship captain I reel-ly trust. I would say Eridan, but I know him and,” Feferi sighs, “he can be difficult. Either way, think over what you want, and tell me as soon as possible. I have other matters to attend now, but.”

Feferi turns to Sollux, “In the meantime, you two can go get some priva-sea,” Feferi giggles when Sollux goes a little yellow.

Feferi walks off and you look to Aradia slightly, “I just got thought on to the fact that I don’t know your formal title. What’s the motherfuck up with that sister?”

Aradia slowly turns to you, her smile wide and blank, with lookstubs that seem to glow as a shiver runs down your posture pole, and you quickly say, “No, nope, never mind. Let’s be forgetting I ever thought on asking.”

You turn to look at the other troll and frantically say, “So hey, uh, Vantas? Let’s speak words. On any-motherfucking-thing other than this.”

Vantas’s lips twitch in a smirk, and for a second you think they’ll throw you under the skuttlebuggy. “We do need to start discussing how to manage the purple blood’s mindfuck powers.”

Your pump biscuit plummets onto the floor. “Oh,” you say quiet, “Right.”

Motherfuck.

“Want to follow me somewhere so we can talk somewhere more secure? I’m not a fan of speaking battle strategies without some kind of privacy,” Vantas says calmly.

“Okay,” you say. They start walking off and you shuffle behind, hating to think on what you’re going to be about to do.

Vantas takes you through the door at the back of the block and you halt and gape at the huge red battleship for a second. You can only see the front of it, with what way it’s got to be landed idle in the port. It goes up, up, and up even as you can’t tip your nugbone back no further in an attempt to see it all. Its width spans the whole port too, end to end. You see the long-pointed spikes not unlike the double culling fork what the Condesce and Feferi both got to mark them as Empress.

A frisson of fear runs in you, the flight-and-fight responses making all them to be like light switches which all got flipped to “run motherfucker, run”. Like whence you first saw the sea, a knowing presence in your pan what whispers danger, turn around, run, go back. You swallow and thank Messiahs that your muscles are froze as ice right now ‘cause you would be ashamed of yourself for running at sight of not but a motherfucking ship.

“This the first time you’ve seen it?”

You look at Vantas with a nod, seeing them turned to look at you, before asking, “We going in?”

“Yes,” Vantas replies, “Now follow me closely, it’s easy to get lost. The ship is nearly twice as huge inside compared to how it looks on the outside.”

“Damn sibling,” you mutter.

Vantas throws you a weird look without stopping their measured walking up to the ship and up the ramp what leads into it, “What is with you calling everyone terms like that?”

“Uh,” you shrug, watching them intently as you follow them down unmarked fuchsia corridors with several turns and doors what to get lost in. You do not want to get lost in this motherfucking ship, “hard to explain things such as that when there’s a lot to it and I don’t even got knowing on what exactly it even is you’re motherfucking trying to get an answer on to.”

Vantas huffs, “I thought the ‘bro’ ‘sister’ ‘sibling’ thing was used for familiar trolls I guess?”

“Oh that,” you say wondering where they got to hearing at such things, “Nah. I mean sometimes. It depends. A motherfucker you know at what ain’t family can still be a sibling just ‘cause you got familiarity onto them. A motherfucker what is family is your sibling regardless of your knowing of them.”

Vantas hums, “Then why call me sibling? Why not my name? Or shit, even my title, I could give less of a shit if you call me by that, forget what Feferi said. It just seems odd for you to call me sibling?”

You make a reluctant noise, “Names are power and familiarity. Hatch names little less so, but still motherfucking formal. Titles can also be power as well as deference. Calling a stranger sibling is meant to just be a way to talk at them without any sort of overfriendliness, you know? It’s safer to stick with ‘sibling’ then be too formal or familiar when you don’t got the place or the care for either. Can call any motherfucker sibling but the meaning and intent behind is all the difference when calling sibling at someone.”

You pause before adding on, “Plus it’s half habit since them words come natural out my talk blaster. Don’t figure I got any reason to be changing my speech natural just ‘cause you’s at being the one I’m gabbing at.”

“So basically, you’re subtly insulting me,” it ain’t phrased as a question so you don’t even think on to answer. Vantas snorts after a pause, “I have to admit though, I didn’t expect you to have that much thought into it.”

You smirk though they can’t see you, “Who the motherfuck said stupid is all we clowns motherfuck is?”

“No idea,” Vantas says, sarcasm in their tone, “But your speaking pattern probably doesn’t help with that apparently incorrect idea.”

You shrug ambiguously and Vantas half turns to you, gesturing to a door, “We’re here.”

You look at the door and back to Vantas, “’Kay.”

Vantas scowls slightly, “What, you can’t go into a place unless invited?”

You shrug. You can, but you’re trying to procrastinate. “I ain’t no rainbow drinker or nothing if that’s what you’re asking.”

Vantas rolls their lookstubs, muttering in a way that makes you think that it was meant for just themselves, “Trust me, a closed door will not stop a rainbow drinker, invited or not.”

You make like you didn’t hear that since you think they weren’t meaning you to hear it. Vantas looks at you and says, “Wiggler allusions to false myths aside, can you please go inside the block?”

“Aight,” you say blandly, opening the door and walking in. It’s a plain fuchsia block, a long table with several chairs surrounding it. The seat at the front of the table is fuchsia and gold. Wonder who’s that is.

“Sis got a liking for gold and fuchsia more than I thought,” you comment as you walk in, not expecting any sort of response, “How does a motherfucker not get sick of seeing the same color all the damn time?”

“This shit is all left over from the previous Empress’s imaginative designing skills,” Vantas says with acid.

You look at them, it’s been six sweeps since she was breathing still, you figure if Feferi got a disliking for it she woulda changed it already. You ask, “Really?”

Vantas nods, closing the door before sitting down at one of the normal chairs and waving to the one across from them.

You barely contain a grimace before sitting. Vantas’s sylladex flashes into existence for a second before a notepad falls out it. Vantas grabs it before it hits the table and pulls a writing utensil out of it, looking at you expectantly.

You look away and bite the inside of your cheeks, careful not to draw blood. There’s a shuffle and you look to see Vantas has placed the notepad down and reclined against the back of their chair with a small sigh.

“Look,” they say, their burning red lookstubs boring into your soul, “I know you don’t want to really say anything. The Empress is making you and it’s hoofbeastmanure. You have your beliefs and a responsibility to your disciples or whatever the fuck they’re called. Family? Yeah, I think that’s what it’s called. I respect that even if most of it makes no sense to me.”

They pause and lean forward with a concerned frown, “But I have my responsibility as well. I can’t stand by and let my troops be helpless while I do nothing. I’m not asking you for any secrets or for you to abandon anything or anyone. All I’m asking for is a little help. Leveling of the battlefield, if it’s possible. Literally anything you can say would be helpful, but I want to make it clear that I won’t make you say everything. One thing, one fucking hint, and I’ll be happy.”

You blink at them, not believing them, but wondering how much they’ll say to try to get you to speak. Ain’t like you have much choice over telling them what they deem to be something what they need to know. You say, “All right. What about Kindness though? She won’t be happy with that.”

Vantas waves it off, “I’ll deal with her. I’ll make her think she’s getting everything she needs. Which, technically she is, because I’m a goddamn general for a reason and all I need is one hint, so that I can give the army a direction or command, and I know they can handle it from there. Therefore, she needs one little thing, which is all I’m asking for.”

You still don’t trust them on what they say about only wanting one thing. You need to say something, you ain’t got no choice over that. You try to think on something what wouldn’t betray your family nor your faith. After a long moment of thinking you realize you have no idea what sort of flaysquads they make, so you say, “The chucklevoodoos work on fear, right? Used to be for keeping lowbloods in check when old Empress was still ‘round for contributing to the slurry. ‘Course, midbloods and bloods higher than purple got less susceptibility, and yellow and lower get more vulnerability, what with how having psionics makes you more like to get affected by them. Special cases being an exception, that means midbloods would be the best chance. But I don’t know what sort of squads you build or if color is something you make to be a factor.”

Vantas hums, “They’re mixed color squads. I focus on making them all work as a cohesive unit with the strife specibi that they grew up using more than anything else. Sometimes I do have to make them change, but that’s very rare cases. Use of psionics and special talents is encouraged. That’s basically all there is to my method.”

You nod sharply trying to think of what you can say that might be helpful, and they ask, “Though I’ve never heard of chucklevoodoos? You spoke like they were psionics? Can I have more details about that if possible? I’m not trying to push you or anything, but I already had an idea about the blood color thing.”

You frown and figure there’s no problem to talk on about it, tilting your nugbone, “Yeah I can speak on that. Chucklevoodoos is what the faith calls it, but they are psionics in most ways known to the faithless. No lifting or control of a pan, though I guess it’s closer to the second one? Like, not all are the same sibling, all I know personal and detailed are mine.”

Their eyebrows raise, “You have them?”

You look in their lookstubs and ask, “Why wouldn’t I?”

“Good point,” Vantas says. “Please continue if you don’t mind.”

You sigh, “Aight so, this is where shit gets a bit more confusing and words might start colliding into nonsense. I’ll try to keep it straight but tell me if I go too far off-track. So. I can make apparitions appear in the parts of your pan what only go at being used when you sleep. That’s like, really motherfuckin hard though. Probably is what would be at the extent of my power. Normal levels are just a wave of fear danger chills down your posture pole pay attention death is here you can’t escape you’re next which way should you go it don’t matter ‘cause they all lead to death I’m there right behind you turn around and you see me not but I’m waiting drop your guard I dare you right at your shoulder ready to pounce but you can’t see me so you are not knowing when its gonna happen just that it is and-”

“Okay,” Vantas interrupts you and you snap your lookstubs to looking at them, not remembering drifting your gaze off. “You were right, that was hard to follow. You spoke very quickly plus, that staring off at nothing thing? It’s highly concerning, for the record. How about this, can you give me an example?”

You recoil a bit, blinking, “Sib you are not wanting that.”

Vantas’s lips twitch with a frown, “Yes, I do. I don’t expect my troops to do anything I don’t expect of myself.”

You can kind of respect that, so you deign to grant them their desire as motherfucking stupid it done be, sighing with a slight growl. “Fine,” you mutter, “don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

You hesitate then say, “Just know that I ain’t gonna move from this seat.”

Their eyebrows raise in confusion, “Okay?”

You breathe in and sigh out your cartilaginous nub, “Trust on me that you’ll need knowing on that. How long you want to feel it?”

They blink, “Uh, I guess it doesn’t matter?”

“It does,” you say. You think how short you can go and still make it so they feel it well enough before saying, “ten seconds is what I’ve decided to do.”

They snarl silently, finding some offence with that you’re sure, and you send out a wave of fear. They stiffen, not breathing as they grip the table, claws gouging the wood. You count out the seconds before pulling back your power. They rapidly blink and gasp when you do, lookstubs wide at you.

You stare at them, voice flat as your stare as you ask, “Happy?”

They look away and their lookstubs aren’t so wide anymore when they swallow. They take a breath, looking back to you after a second, asking, “Can you see the fears you cause or?”

“Nah,” you say easily, a little impressed that they ain’t flipping out or vomiting, maybe they are worthy of respect. “Don’t know if others can. None of the family I met could. Would be major distraction if you ask me. How’s you supposed to get to attacking when you see the shit the same they do?”

They straighten up and say, “All right, I have an idea. Feel free to say no, it’s just a thought. We could train my troops to build up resistance to the mental attack, using your help.”

Your eyebrows raise as they continue, “I have a few purple bloods in my flaysquads, so I could have them help as well.”

You shift your weight, extending your prong in a confused gesture, “What exactly would you be wanting done exactly?”

“Mock battles,” Vantas replies. “No weapons probably, maybe some sort of markers to mark the ‘deaths’? I’m not sure on that yet, but basically you and the other purples would use psionics and attack as if you were the real opponents and the other trolls would try to attack back I guess? It was just a passing thought, I haven’t figured out all the details.”

You hum and lean back, tilting your nugbone side to side as you think. You get what they are trying at with that, but you got thought on that it might not work. “Can’t promise it would work like I think you’re wanting it to,” you say finally.

Vantas shrugs, “It’s worth a shot. Another question, if you don’t mind.”

You grunt and Vantas asks, “Would having you on the battle field have any tactical advantage?”

You bare some fangs and hiss, “I ain’t gonna attack my family.”

Vantas waves their prong dismissively, “Not what I meant. I meant could you possibly convince them to not attack?”

You sigh, “If I could convince them of any motherfucking thing, they would not be fighting in the first place, brother. I mean sibling, sorry, did not have no intention of implying at you.”

“That’s fine, male pronouns are what I would rather be called by anyway,” Vantas says.

You nod and say, “But yeah brother, Grand Pulpiteer as I am being, all the faith respects me, right? But when I come along and ask them to not get so harsh at lowbloods because of some new Empress, some don’t get thinking nor belief on that it is what the Messiahs would like. Even before, there was divides in the faith. Now it’s a bit bigger, sadly. Though we still all respect each other and are family. We just don’t agree on some things. You know what I mean?”

“I think so,” Vantas says. “Next thing, I don’t think this would be a problem, but just to make sure. The purple bloods I have in my flaysquads aren’t likely to join the other side then?”

“They wouldn’t a joined your flaysquad if they believed what the others what are attacking you do,” you say simple.

Vantas nods with a gesture like ‘ok, got it’.

“Though I wouldn’t want you making my family fight each other,” you mutter. “That shit ain’t motherfucking right.”

Vantas looks at you, then nods, “All right. I can’t straight up say ‘no purple bloods’ because Feferi wouldn’t like the sound of that. What if I make it optional for purple bloods to fight? I’ll give Feferi some bullshit about how the psionics would interfere with my purple blood troops or whatever. I’ll come up with a good excuse.”

You hesitate before saying, “It is part of the religion. Black rom and accidents are motherfucking fine, but you really ain’t meant to be seriously attacking your family.”

Vantas hums, “Somehow I don’t think Feferi will accept that. However, I do, so. I’ll deal with Feferi.”

Vantas stares at you for a moment before saying, “Are you a spy? Are spies likely a thing I have to be concerned about?”

You make a face, “Bro, even if I was, why would I tell you? Why’s you asking at such a thing as you can’t trust me to be honest on either way?”

“Because I need to know,” Vantas says. “You’ve been forthright and honest so far from what I can tell. You also seem to put value into your words.”

You frown, “Words are of import. Actions speak louder but a faithful would never say something that they didn’t hold to.”

Vantas looks confused, “So you can’t lie?”

“Not as such,” you pause and make a low aggravated sound, “Don’t know how to explain. Like, I said I’d tell you what you asked at. Now I’m held to that. Make sense?”

“Yes,” Vantas says. “Is there a chance of spies then?”

You make a face, “Well, I can’t be certain on that. Sorry.”

“A lot of my flaysquads end up in quadrants,” Vantas says, “You said you all hold yourselves to your own word, so if there are spies, would I have to worry about them lying or deceiving their partners?”

You frown, “I mean, you can lie to quadrants I guess? But you don’t motherfuckin deceive your quadrants in ways what would break their trust or your vow. We take commitment and vows with upmost seriousness.”

“Okay,” he says, before looking at his paper and tapping his writing utensil against it for a few seconds before looking up and asking, “So are you likely to defect to the other side?”

You frown, “Why would I fucking be here if I-?”

“The Empress,” Vantas announces over you. You shut up and he goes on, “She made you do this. But if you had the choice, what would you do?”

You sigh, “Don’t be seeing why this is knowledge of import, but no. No matter how much I care for my family with all the platonic pity in my marrow, fact is I still don’t be believing as they that’s attacking you do. So here I sit and here I am like to stay with or without choice.”

Vantas nods before saying, “We don’t have to kill them.”

A dull echo of shock what causes stiffness happens at you when he says that. Vantas continues, “I could give the order for this to be nonlethal combat and for them to focus on capture.”

Vantas sighs and says softer, “I don’t want to have to kill your family. I don’t get the religion, but I understand the feeling of multiple lives counting on me. I want to try to,” Vantas makes a vague gesture, like even he’s confused as to what he wanted to exactly say.

You get the gist though. You smile sadly, “You could try but fact of the matter is the siblings who you’re fighting won’t be nonlethal. Nor will they take kind to capture. Better to die in a battle then in a cell, but if you had the choice.”

You look away, “Were you not able to escape and like to be tortured and questioned over family secrets and such,” you swallow whispering, “Better to make your way to the carnival. Better to die then betray family.”

There’s a long silence, you hunched in on yourself and looking at your prongs in your lap. “All right,” you hear Vantas say loudly after a pause. “That will be all.”

You look up at him, surprised. He gives you a mild look, “I said I wouldn’t make you tell me everything, didn’t I?”

“Didn’t expect you to hold to it,” you mumble in honesty.

Vantas rolls his gander bulbs, going to walk out the block while he talks, “I don’t have to be a psycho clown cultist to hold myself to my own word, you do know that right?”

You stare at him, trying to parse out if that was meant to be disrespectful or not, and he winces, muttering, “Shit, sorry, the psycho clown cultist thing was a joke, fuck. Some of my purple bloods find it funny, but I know them and barely know you and you’re the damn Grand Highblood I should have thought about that and yeah, I’ll just shut the fuck up now.”

Just then, before you can gather your thoughts, the door opens to Feferi. Vantas salutes and stands at attention. Feferi smiles and says, “Relax, or what was it? At ease. Whatever, tell me, were you two glubbing about battle strategies? Tell me all a-boat it!”

Vantas is still standing at attention, but he dropped his salute when Feferi said ‘at ease’.

“We were,” Vantas says, “We came up with a plan, which first starts with building up my troops’ resistance to the purple blood’s mental attacks. Makara and other purple bloods I have in my flaysquads will help with this plan.”

“Oh, that is a good idea,” Feferi claps her prongs excitedly, “That was so quick! I’m so glad I chose you for the leader of my army! Go start that! I mean dismissed!”

Vantas salutes, marching out the door. Feferi turns to you with a huge smile, like she wants to ask you everything under the moon, when Vantas speaks up, “I request Makara to follow me, so we can start with that plan.”

You look at Vantas, who jerks his nugbone with some sort of urgency. You are confused, but stand up, saying to Feferi, “Sorry sis, you heard him. Best be on my way, so I can get to being useful for you.”

“Oh, all right,” Feferi sighs.

You walk out the door and walk beside Vantas for a while, before he relaxes his march with a sigh and whispers, “She would have forced you to tell her everything you told me and everything you don’t want to tell me. I couldn’t let that happen.”

You look at him for a moment. He’s verbose, short horned, mutant blooded, strategic, awkward, caring, and firm. You think he’d make a good hatefriend. You smirk, “Even though I’m a psycho clown cultist?”

He whips around to stare at you with wide lookstubs, caught off guard. “You,” he cuts off. His talk blaster twitches between a smile and something else, hissing, “You ass!”

You chuckle, and he goes to kick your shin, but he seems to make sure it ain’t close enough for actual contact, trying at cautious hatefriendliness. You make to pretend a dodge anyway, all accepting his attempt because yeah, you don’t mind being hatefriendly with this spitfire motherfucker.

Chapter Text

Vantas tells you how you and he are to be leaving for what interstellar training compound which new flaysquads get to coming to for learning proper combat shit. He leads you to a large size grey and black craft which somehow fits in Feferi's battleship. “How,” you ask at the ship, “the motherfuck?”

“I told you we were heading for my personal ship,” Vantas says with a smug lit in his words like he was expecting at your surprise.

“Yeah but I did not have the inklings to think on it being inside the motherfucking Battleship Consideration,” you mutter, taking in the ship what is before your lookstubs. It’s not fancy, looks built for muscle power and defense, seeing it makes you expect flaysquads to come stomping and marching out in mass. You’d make bets that it is more a proper battleship then what one you’re inside right now.

Vantas snorts, saying, “If you really want to know how it got in here, I can explain it. It’s not all that complicated.”

“Nah,” you wave it off like your batting them words away from you with your prong. “Don’t want to ruin the motherfucking miracle, bro.”

Vantas groans faintly and you ignore it, looking at him more direct as you ask at, “This motherfucker gots a name?”

“Bulge hump spaz weasel,” Karkat faintly growls in mild aggravation, sounding completely unimpressed with you, “It doesn’t have a name you disaster clown. It’s made to endure warfare on planets and in space, not to parade around the galaxy. Why would it need a goddamn name?”

You shrug loosely, “For fun and laughter brother. Act like you never take a moment to just motherfucking enjoy life, so tense and formal you is, motherfucker.”

“Yes well,” Vantas snaps, “that’s what happens when you run a motherfucking army.”

Vantas makes that march-stomp-trot as he storms off to board the ship, “Come on you shit wheel.”

You follow behind him and once you enter the ship, someone runs up to Vantas and gasps out loudly with a salute, “Martinet!”

“At ease, walk with me Bergis,” the soldier relaxes a bit as Vantas continues, “give me your report.”

“Sir,” the troll matches Vantas’s pace, and you notice that they are wearing an armored uniform like Vantas’s, except that they have a rust-colored sign displayed on it, the sign sort of looks like the number four with a curvy part bending away from the rest. Their horns are like the curved part of their sign and their short hair looks all neat and swept up. “All previously ordered flaysquads have successfully retreated and are awaiting your directive. Flaysquads eighty-nine sixty and seven eighteen have reported back from their missions and I have further written detail for you here but briefly, there are no grievous injuries and their endeavors were successful.”

Vantas takes the folder that they offer him without even looking, and they continue, “The Kindness has filed formal complaints about the retreat, Diplomat Duelfire has sent at least ten missives that seem of personal rather than political nature within the last hour, and there was one instance of an, uh, occurrence with the purple bloods.”

You stare at the rust blood Vantas called ‘Bergis’ earlier intently and see them try not to fidget under your stare as Vantas turns his nugbone to look at them, “What happened?”

“I have the full report here,” Bergis says, frowning at another folder, “It was flaysquad four twenty and the report is a little difficult to understand. It’s written by Admael, who from my understanding is a purple blood as well. Though I think there’s three purples in that squad if I remember correctly. It seems like they decided to go talk to the enemy group and convinced them to cease fire for a while?”

You relax a bit and Vantas frowns, “How?”

“I’m not sure,” Bergis mutters, “They say something about ‘told them siblings of ours a most hilarious joke’? So, I guess the enemy group is holding off as long as they still find that joke funny? I don’t claim to understand purple bloods, general Vantas.”

You snicker slightly under your breath, your family had good thinking in that tactic. All clowns love good jokes. Vantas grunts, “Give me the report.”

Bergis gives it over, then says, “The last thing I have to tell you is that we just recently received a message from the Kindness, for one ‘Clam-zee’?”

Vantas makes a gesture towards you, “That would be an Empress bestowed butchering of his given name.”

Bergis nods slightly and looks at you, saying, “The Empress says, and I quote ‘any-tide you want to glub a-boat any-fin, just swim on over, my doors are al-waves open Clam-zee’.”

You frown to yourself and make an unhappy noise. You hope the Empress ain’t angling for what you think she is because last you checked, she and Eridan are still diamonds and you ain’t wanting to get in-between that nor break anything up.

Vantas says, “Bergis.”

Bergis turns to look, “Sir?”

“This is the Grand Highblood or Grand Pulpiteer, what the fuck ever. He will be accompanying us to the training compound and staying for a yet undetermined time,” Vantas says. Bergis straightens up some and glances at you, attempting at discretion. You allow them to believe what they will on your ability to notice them while you ignore them.

Vantas sighs, “I don’t want to tell you how to manage your quadrants, but I wanted to give you a forewarning.”

“I,” Bergis cuts off, then mutters, “Yes, thank you. In that case, I will go.”

Bergis slightly trails off and Vantas says, “Yes, please do.”

Bergis salutes before picking up the pace and going ahead of you both. You tilt your nugbone and blink, wondering aloud but not really thinking to expect a real answer, “The fuck was that all being about?”

Vantas makes this aggravated sigh-growl, “Damage control.”

There’s something he ain’t explaining to you, but you still your tongue. You expected he wouldn’t answer you straight and you presume you’ll figure it out in time. You and Vantas walk silent till you reach a door. Vantas opens the door and you hear a startled squeak when you walk in. You’re all sorts of motherfucking surprised when a little cobalt blood – slightly curly short hair, a symbol in their armor what looks like a weird-ass fish, and horns that curve out and down low on their nugbone – bows at you like your family does, whispering, “Grand Highblood.”

Vantas groans loudly and you notice Bergis standing off to the side, looking worn and something like you can’t place words. Like softness, but in a firm manner. If you were to guess, you’d say diamonds are at work.

“For the love of everything anyone has ever held holy, please don’t,” Vantas half growls.

You blink at the wording, thinking it familiar somehow, but push it off as the cobalt blood stands up and looks at Vantas, “But this is. They’re the Grand Highblood,” they speak at your title reverently.

The cobalt blood glances at Bergis like they are looking for approval. You think you were right about diamonds, and you also have thought that this has something to do with the ‘damage control’ Vantas mentioned, but still you do not understand a motherfucking thing what’s going on.

“What’s the haps here in this block?” You tilt your nugbone, “I must have missing pieces to this for all it makes no goddamn sense to my think pan.”

“I,” the cobalt blood starts, pausing to look at Bergis, then Vantas, then Bergis once again. After a moment, they look at you and you see in their gander bulbs the same look that you see in the new siblings of the faith when they first enter the church. They speak verse at you, “When you do not know, when your recollection is remiss and out for the motherfucking day, look to the sky. Look to the stars and know that beyond them are the Messiahs. Ask at them for your knowledge and they may see fit to bestow it upon you, though what you get may be not what you ask.”

You don’t even think before finishing the rest, “Do not question it though, for your Messiahs will always give you what they get to seeing you need in the moment. Praise their names for their knowledge is a motherfucking miracle to be held at most precious.”

“Praise,” the cobalt blood murmurs, their face looking flushed a little blue.

You smile, “Praise the motherfucking Messiahs. You got church knowing's on you, little blue?”

The cobalt blood swallows and you see their nervousness as they speak another verse, “When asked do not hesitate, do not motherfucking waver, for your faith shall be known by your words and your actions, so shout out your beliefs and fear none for you true have not a motherfucking thing to fear under your Messiahs.”

You laugh, “Preach.”

The cobalt blood sputters in shock, face deep blue.

“A faithful outside of the blood,” your stare wanders up and away as you mutter at yourself, “Never thought on that being able to being a thing.”

You look back at them and say, “Need to think on that more, I get to thinking. For now, little one, you speak good faith and have good soul. Consider yourself my family.”

The cobalt blood squeak-chirps and you see dismay fluid gather under their lookstubs. You ruffle their hair shortly with a smirk. Family outside the blood, huh? That makes your pan run thoughts high speed with possibilities and questions.

For now, Vantas suddenly speaks up, and when the motherfuck did he walk past you? He’s standing near the captain’s chair with Bergis standing a bit behind him as he says, “Yes well, I am entirely certain that everyone here just had the same thought I did. So, let’s hurry the fuck up and get to the training grounds, stat.”

“Wiisne, Pelenn, Wottur, Ahilde, Yersai, Wanjin,” Vantas barks out and the ship collectively sparks non-verbal replies, “Just because I said ‘stat’ does not mean you can push yourselves. I have so many of you working at the same time to prevent any strain on you all. So, no matter how much everyone here except Shrila wants off and away from the cult clown, you will not exceed your normal level of effort. Are we understood?”

A multi-tone, “Yes sir,” buzzes through the ship and Vantas nods.

Vantas presses a button and speaks, “Tremen, Nipham, Othrys, Bojanv, one of you give me reports on the ship’s condition.”

“Puffin,” a voice replies, “We’re like, tit’lly mort’lly wounded capt’in. Going down, going down, mayday. Can’t fly for shit with holes in our-”

Karkat growls loudly, “Did I ask for your goddamn sarcasm, Othrys? Did I? I don’t give a shit if we haven’t been in battle recently, give me a lowdown on how the fucking ship is holding up!”

The voice huffs, “Just trying to h’ve some fun capt’in. You need t’-”

“Sorry,” a different voice cuts over the last. “Everything is fit and ready for launch.”

Thank you, Tremen,” Vantas half-hisses. A pause, then Vantas asks, “Do I even want to know where Bojanv and Nipham are?”

“Uh,” the voice of Tremen says. A long pause, then, “Othrys contacted Caline just now. Hopefully he can talk them out of this, um, particular dare.”

“Right, it’s getting handled,” Vantas rubs his face with a prong and mutters, “how the fuck you all manage to not kill each other is still a mystery to me.”

“Paw,” another voice chimes in from somewhere, “Cat’s paw-ll be-claws of mew cat-tian!”

Vantas glares at the little miracle box what is producing the voice before saying, “Yeah, sure, what the fuck ever Piizto. How’s the med bay?”

“Ev-fury-thing is fur-tastic!”

“More like boring,” another voice groans. “Between Pasern and Serold I’m gonna just fall over and die, maybe then things would be exciting.”

There’s a soft ‘shush’ from the first voice and a relenting grumble from the second. “Serold,” Vantas says, sounding confused but not surprised, “What the fuck. Just what the fuck. I was gone for less than two hours. The fuck did you do this time?”

“Uh,” a third voice squeaks, “Did you know how socks are really slippery on these floors?”

“Yes,” Vantas growls lowly, “Because you decided to try it and hurt yourself on several different occasions.”

“Well,” the voice says quiet, “I thought if I had a big enough sock-

“Nope,” Vantas snaps over them, “I’m done. Don’t want to know anymore. You’re not dead, if you were very seriously injured someone would have said so by now, so no. I’m good.”

Vantas sighs long and loud, then asks, “Are we all set to launch?”

The cobalt blood, did Vantas call them Shrila? Shrila goes to sit at a monitor, like the rest of the trolls sitting around Vantas at various monitors and controls. They all check on one thing or another and it’s all too much for you to have knowledge on, so you just watch.

“Just got visual confirmation that the engines are at an optimum lev-eel,” a violet blood with a squiggly u-like sign, hair in several long braids, and upward curved horns says, emphasizing the pronunciation of their ‘u’ and elongating their ‘s’ sounds.

“Weapons are fully stocked and loaded,” Shrila says.

“Yes, if we need too, we can blast anyone out of the system Captain,” another violet blood says, this one with a sign that looks sort of like a couple of threes right next to each other, and their horns are slight curves out.

“The hull is undamaged, so defense is also at its best right now,” says an indigo with short spiky hair, longer horns that remind you of the tail of a legged slither beast, as well as a squiggly sign that looks like one. “With several uh, notes from Armourer Blackeye about-”

“Don’t care what he has to say,” Vantas says over them. “I can’t bother with his fetishes right now. Thank you Maldus. Supplies?”

“Fully stocked captain,” a teal blood with a sign that starts almost like a ‘T’ but then curls and swoops down with the end splitting into two forks, short curly hair, and very small curved horns what look like a goat’s. They’re nubs compared to your long curving goat horns, but you still know them for being a type of goat horn.

“Yes,” a small voice from an olive blood with long straight hair, weird hump-like horns, and a sign that looks like uh, a mushroom with a crowfoot? Shit’s weird. They mumble, seeming to themselves, “I. We. Yes. Yes.”

“Right,” Vantas says. “Cereth, Rhazin, I need you to contact flaysquads four twenty and thirty ten. At the very least, I need the purple bloods to come to the training camp. Make that a priority. The rest of those flaysquads can come as previous engagements allow, but I need those purple bloods asap, understood?”

“Yes sir,” two trolls reply at the same time. Both are brown blood you think. The one with a sign that looks like an upside-down ‘A’ has a shade what looks nearly rust, medium length curly hair, horns that almost remind you of meowbeast auricular shells and barkbeast auricular shells at the same time, and they are wearing glasses. The other one is a brown blood for sure, with hair that’s longer on one side and shorter on the other, a sign that looks like a trapezoid with handles, and their horns look like those handles on their sign.

“Good, now of course I need to eventually train all the flaysquads against these types of attacks, but I want to start with those two and the new recruits,” Vantas says. “So, send another order to something of that effect to all the squads.”

“Sir,” they both reply again.

“Bergis,” Vantas says, turning to address the troll, “take command from here. I need to show the Grand Highblood around.”

“Yes sir,” Bergis says. Vantas walks over to you and gestures you to follow.

“Preparing to launch,” Bergis says as you follow Karkat out of the command center.

“This isn’t going to be that long of a ride,” Vantas says, “but let me show you where the ablutionblocks and all that shit are.”

Chapter Text

Vantas didn’t lie when he said the trip wouldn’t be long. Weren’t longer than an hour total. Time passed quick when you talked faith and made wicked ass slam poetry with Shrila. Dude’s a cool brother and can lay down a nice rhyme. Needs practice to match you truly but you got a few sweeps on him. Brother got a wicked taste for the righteous art of blood painting. He got a taste for it in his soul. You never were the best at that shit even if the lust for it came all too easy some nights. You’d like to see him work his wicked art one day, for motherfucking sure.

His moirail Bergis is nice you guess. Kind of a stiff, in your unfiltered opinion. Don’t matter what you think though with Shrila dripping diamonds every which where. It’s a sweet little miracle.

Either what ways, you end up docking onto another interstellar platform in what feels like no time. Vantas walks over to you and snaps, “If you’re done making everyone’s auricular sponge clots bleed, it’s time to get moving.”

“Harsh bro,” you say mildly. “No need to be so severe on our flow. Least hash that shit in rhyme and canto.”

“No,” Vantas’s voice is flat and unamused.

You huff and stand, walking away with him as you ask, “Aight, what you got need on me for?”

“Well, probably nothing yet,” Vantas says. “The trolls here are all new recruits, so I need to whip them into something half assembling a shape before I even want to try throwing them at any purple bloods. For now, I guess you just wait around.”

You slouch and mutter with a slight hiss in your voice, “Then I don’t get to be seeing why you had to be pulling me away like that.”

Vantas looks at you and says, “In the name of honesty, I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you. I don’t want you leaving my sight.”

You grumble, and you can’t blame him for not trusting you, but you do have issue, “So what, am I to be tied to your hip now? Like a woolbeast to the motherfucking slaughter? I will not abide that.”

“God, fucking,” Vantas stops and turns to snarl at you, “No! Fuck’s sake, I’m not saying anything like that. I’m not going to fucking stalk you, or, or tie you down, you ignoramus. I’m not trying to tame you, fuck. You’re a free fucking troll, do as you goddamn wish. You can walk around or whatever at your own discretion, Shrila will be around and you can talk to him if you want, I don’t care. Just, I’m going to make sure you don’t kill anyone. That’s it, that’s all. You will be watched and the second you look likely to kill someone, I will end you, I don’t give a damn what your family says or what religion you’re the leader of. Understood?”

“No intent to tame he says, not a motherfucking thought on it he wants me to believe,” you growl lowly and bare your fangs at him, “Using tone and voice of a commander like he thinks I’ll just snap ‘yes sir’ like all his little lowblood ilk. Not like to happen, not like at motherfucking all, brother. I got things higher than you whom give at the only guidance I need take heed to. Even as I didn’t, you can’t order me around. I ain’t your kind. I ain’t those you got title over. We’re motherfucking equals whether we like or not. That much is for true when the Empress spoke at us using our names not titles. Means we all being on the same playing field, brother. You at saying I’m free when I can’t say ‘no’ for the Empress is held at over my nugbone, expecting at my compliance, and settling for no motherfucking less. Say I can do at as I please when what I please to do is motherfucking leave. Even you can’t allow that, don’t try to underhand me. Says at me not being tied like I got any other motherfucking choice but to be bound here till the Empress says I’ve done my duty true.”

You pause and gather your breath under your control as you notice that you’ve leaned down face to face with him. You speak evenly as you say, “Try to stalk me and keep sights on me as you see fit. You’ll be surprised how much a tall ass motherfucker can get to being unseen. As for your inquiry and threat, I meet that motherfucker. I meet it and say I ain’t got no need to fear you trying to cut me down. If it comes to, we’ll see who the fuck comes out breathing still. Can’t say for certain it would be me since I’m not knowing at your skills. Just saying I ain’t got nothing to fear from you or your army, brother. Come the motherfuck at me.”

You back up, standing straight and looking at him even as you can, “Don’t be so sure that I’ll be like to kill, blasphemous blood. And if it does come the fuck to that, it’s defense or Messiahs’ will. Go ahead though, watch me if you fucking can.”

“You know what,” Vantas says through gritted teeth, “fuck this. I’m done here. I warned you.”

You scoff, “Warning full well motherfucking received and understood, then issued back at your face full force.”

“Great, glad we’re in agreement,” Vantas growls and turns heel, storming off.

Something heavy settles in your thorax and you want to spit it out. Motherfucker sure can be irritating. You walk over to where he is and watch from the sides. A bunch of trolls stand out in front of him and he is standing at attention as he shouts, “Welcome to both of our living hells. Yours because you have to deal with me and mine because I have to deal with you. This will not be easy. I will not coddle you or commend you on a job well done. For as long as you are all recruits, consider me your enemy. Now which one of you half-pint trolls think they can fight worth half a damn?”

A few excited shouts raise up, then trolls start jostling each other and growling. “You,” Vantas shouts and they all go still. Vantas is pointing to someone as he says, “The blue blood with a symbol that looks like a rain-deflecting pole.”

A blue blood, cobalt from what you can see, steps forward slightly and points at themselves.

“Yes you,” Vantas hisses with no patience in his voice. “Name and strife specibus.”

The troll stands straight, shouting, “Tuefem Kayunt, sword kind!”

“Don’t tell me, show me,” Vantas growls. “Draw your weapon and prepare to get fucking schoolfed on how little you actually know about fighting.”

“Uh, I,” the cobalt-blue blood looks startled.

“Tick tock,” Vantas says, drawing a sickle out of his strife deck and tapping the flat side against his frond impatiently. You’re a bit surprised that he has a traditional threshecutioner weapon after what he told you earlier. Maybe that’s just what he knows best? “Do you think an enemy would wait for you to draw your weapon?”

Cobalt-blue hurriedly goes about pulling out their weapon, brandishing it towards Vantas. “I, uh, I’m not sure-”

“You don’t have time to waver in battle,” Vantas snarls before running at the troll. The troll flinches and goes to swing but jerkily pulls it away before it can touch Vantas. Then they act surprised when Vantas’s sickle blade is at their squeal pipette.

“You’re dead,” Vantas says bluntly before backing off quickly. Fucker moves quick for sure. Has to with the short range of his weapon. You wonder how well he’d fare against your clubs, them all up and being short range as well.

“Don’t worry about it,” Vantas says, catching your attention out of what you were thinking on. “The first one is always the one where it ends quickly. Now, to be clear, there are no killing blows in these fights, nor are we aiming for grievous injuries. Also, no using psionics. I need you all at your healthiest, so I can put you through hell and make sure you can survive out on your own. Want to try again?”

The cobalt-blue blood nods and holds their weapon more assuredly. They take the first step this time, and Vantas is on the defensive now. He dodges and evades swings and jabs, barely even lifting his sickle. Duck and dodge, weaving through the cobalt-blue blood’s attack until he’s in too close for them to attack or defend, and then Vantas swings his sickle, stopping it right at the edge of their torso. “Dead,” Vantas announces.

You watch Vantas as he goes through all the recruits as such. You don’t hardly devote pan power to recollecting nor hearing their names but do pay attention to weapons and colors. Olive with stun gun kind causes Vantas some issues, rust with hockey stick kind ends quick enough, violet with hairdryer kind ends embarrassingly quick, yellow uses knife kind and gets a few scores on Vantas’s hide, as well as a teal with saw kind, brown with surprisingly sickle kind takes a bit because of Vantas’s caution, indigo with shovel kind too takes a little while, teal with nail gun kind ends quicker, olive with scythe causes issues as well, as does a violet with golf club kind, indigo with glove kind ends quicker than it starts, and brown with branch kind is over quick as well. Not a one he can’t bring down even in practice.

He has them small cuts and nicks but remains mostly unharmed and a dark part of your pan craves to see more of his blood. You wonder if it’s just your training and faith speaking at you, or if it’s your cracked pan, or if it’s of a romantic nature. Brother is feisty and irritating, but you wonder if he could be a real rival to you.

“There, now it’s time to start showing you pupa how to fight for real,” Vantas says, getting you back to where you’re paying attention again.

“Martinet,” a voice shouts.

Vantas turns and shouts back, “What?”

A teal blood wearing shades walks up with a sign that looks like an elongated diamond with a line through it that curves off to one side out the top, medium length straight hair, and horns that remind you of simplified flapbeast wings. They smirk, “Come on Martinet, can’t expect these fledglings to fly before they see how it’s done!”

“What are you trying to say Nipham,” Vantas says like it’s a question he doesn’t want answered.

“I’m saying you should show these fledglings how real trolls fight,” they exclaim with a smile.

Vantas crosses his arms over his torso, “And who do you think I should fight?”

Nipham points at you without looking, Vantas looks surprised to notice you standing nearby and you’re surprised Nipham noticed you. Though in honesty it ain’t like you were trying too hard to be unseen.

“The Grand Highblood of course!”

They look at you, “You can fight, right?”

“Yeah,” you reply quietly, pan bringing up the small thoughts of testing out if Vantas could be a real rival.

They look back to Vantas, “Come on Martinet! I’ve never seen adult trolls fight for real! This will be exciting!”

Vantas sighs, then looks at you, considering.

“No killing, no psionics,” he says after a while.

You glare at him and say, “Fine by me.”

Vantas steps toward you and asks, “Will you hold your word?”

You are fucking sick of him thinking you so like to kill without reason or provocation, so willing to ask at things he got no true knowledge on, nor right to call at, so you snarl, “I’ll hold my motherfucking word. No killing, no voodoos, not a thing what would injure your frail ass husk so bad as to leave you at the doctorturer’s and neither in the Handmaid’s claws. Hardly get any fun out of it that way, I have an idea that that’ll be certainty, but I’ll obey those rules.”

Vantas huffs and says, “Good.”

He comes closer with a few quick short steps. Waiting for your weapon so he can judge where’s too close to stand. You pull your clubs in a flourish and you see his face change, you see him know at you for being a true fully trained subjugglator and no longer a buffoon of a clown. You set to juggling and both of you start circling each other on some unknown circumstance. Maybe it’s experience in fighting, you know not, all you know is you both set to walking at the same time. You watch his stance and strut pods for changes or clues. You got a bit of an upper prong from watching him earlier, but you ain’t about to jump on assumptions. He occasionally mock-charges you, just a step forward with his horns tossed out in threat and provocation, testing to see if you’ll slip to meet the challenge or to see where your line of challenge is at. You don’t budge or flinch an inch, for the juggling is your shield and your threat, and you ain’t like to drop it until you’re set for attack. Though right now you’re trying to think on attacks what ain’t killing blows or blows what would leave him with broken bones. Subjugglation ain’t the best course for knowledge on that, but it’s fine, you got a little knowledge of laughsassin techniques in your pan somewhere. Just need to remember them.

You and Vantas circle as if dancing, watch as if obsessed, look for weakness like it’s to be your lifeblood. You try to grasp the rhythm of it, try to make a song in your pan to it for song makes your fighting dance easier. With rhythm, you can get lost in the flow and have an empty pan, almost to be like inner peace. Vantas’s strut pods move close to the ground, making a soft shuffling shifting sound. Something thick and dark sits in your thorax and clogs the air around you both. Your clubs thump and pound against your prongs, whistling through the air quietly. Song don’t fit right somehow, something feels off about it, ain’t synchronizing in serendipity. But that don’t mean you can’t make it work. Song you have found, for all it sits odd, and when Vantas bares his fangs at you, you make your move. Vantas moves just in time to block your club from smashing his nugbone, and he shouts, “I said no killing!”

“Would a pulled it were you too slow to react,” you say flatly.

Vantas snarls and you put away your clubs and backflip on instinct, watching from afar how his sickle slices through the air where your guts just were at. You stare at him and want to say something, but the way he glares back at you is all-consuming black and you want to devour him. The song’s singing almost right now, enough that you can get lost in it and fight. You both run at each other this time, Vantas getting his swings on first. You go at dodging with your clubs still tucked up and away – performing summersaults, handsprings, cartwheels, flips, and rolls – quick and fluid with no thought, like as you are water instead of troll. Spinning and twirling instead of blocking true, dance and fight all at once, performance and meditation, alert, precise, and calm.

After a while of dodging like as such, Vantas looks rightly pissed off, so you smile and change dodge what was making to be a back roll into a hoofbeast kick at the last second, landing hit right to the under of his chin. Messiahs bless your long motherfucking fronds else you might not have landed that hit. You fold your fronds back in and continue with the roll till your prongs are on the ground and push up into a handstand, then flip over back onto your fronds, upright again. You pant and get a wicked smile when you see him standing up, rubbing at his jaw. Vantas spits out what seems to be a piece of tooth, some of his blood dripping down his chin, marking slate grey with bright burning red, as if branded with burning irons. Your own blood thumps under your skin, roars and clamors and builds your song, making it dark, black as inky night. Fire boils and scorches in you, razing your soul.

Vantas wipes the blood off his chin and sets his stance firmly. Something crumbles a little in you, almost like to be disappointment that he was so quick to wipe off the blood. Your thoughts collide and clash with the song briefly before you allow the song to sweep through you and guide you.

Even you could make a pretty picture with blood so bright.

You go on the offensive as the song thumps and swirls, black ink and blood craving; wanting more of his blood, flowing from his skin free, dripping off him, licking your lips and wondering what it tastes like, how he would react if you tried to lick off the blood. Vantas blocks you as you dance circles around him, pan pounding with need of blood. Vantas tries to get hits on you, and you’re so caught up in your pan that you barely manage to avoid some of them. He swings his sickle at your face and you dodge it, only for him to deliver a left hook at you. You stumble back and hiss, ignoring the sting of your cheek. Vantas growls, still bleeding out his talk blaster. You need it, you need to see more of that heinous color, spread over the walls in holy painting.

You go at him, swinging with one club, then the other, in rhythm of your bloodlust song. Vantas makes at blocking and dodging, but your song skips track when you see him stumbling for steps and you catch yourself off the pit you were about to pedal straight into, backing up and gritting your teeth. You struggle against your clamoring thoughts and song. Song is near to bloodthirsty black and it’s making you want him as rival or as holy painting or both in the same. You try to quiet down the song and listen to the knowledge up in you.

He’s a challenge. Challenge because he’s smart and strong and quick, he’s got experience in fighting and he ain’t no wimp. Challenge to keep your chucklevoodoos in check and to not just smash in his motherfucking nugbone. He’s a motherfucking challenge for sure. But he’s so fucking weak compared to you. Highblood strength means his punch barely even smarts anymore, meanwhile you could crush his meal tunnel with two fingers and not even fucking try. You know it, you’ve done that to a rust and he’s a motherfucking red mutant, he’s lower than rust. He ain’t nothing compared to you and your strength, not accounting your chucklevoodoos. He’s a speck, a frail little hotblooded nub horned motherfucker, not even a thing worth being at your rival.

Yet he stands up to you, he suffers no fear because of you nor your standing. He cares not for your title or religion, he sees you as a nuisance and not a powerful highblood what has authority and power over a whole goddamn caste. You’re like to be near as high as the Kindness, your ancestor was held at near equals to the Condesce back in their day. Condesce was war and politics, Grand Highblood was religion and control. Yet he knows not of things such as that, or he simply does not care. He sees you as a motherfucking fool, a goddamn laughingstock. Like your religion is an odd hobby and your family is just a collection of warriors, like how he treats those under him. He has no fear, no respect. You could fucking hate him for it, you really motherfucking could.

But that hate would be platonic.

You feel it, you know it for truth. You want to rip him apart until he does fear you, or let him just die at your prongs for the fear he feels not. But you don’t want to kill him because that’s what he expects of you, and you want to prove him wrong. And you ain’t wanting to kill no one for no motherfucking reason, you really ain’t. Just your cracked pan hits a groove of rage and bloodlust occasionally, and you ain’t always able to make it skip over it. Your pan is all scattered on what it wants with him, but for as much as the fight’s song is feeding and leading to black feelings, you got a knowledge from Messiahs know where that it ain’t right. If you two were to be black you’d need an auspistice you think.

You get jarred out of your reflecting when Vantas roars and runs at you. He grabs at your middle and brings one of your arms over his shoulder, lifting you off the damn ground, flipping you mid-air, and slamming you back down onto the ground.

You wheeze and cough, pan spinning from the suplex you just got the ass end of. Vantas sits and flops back, his strut pods by your face as he pants for breath.

“Fuck you’re heavy,” Vantas wheezes. He motherfucking suplexed you. Vantas complains, “You look like a twig, what the fuck, how are you that heavy.”

You breathe heavily and stare up at the ceiling. Karkat motherfucking Vantas just lifted your ass off the ground and slammed you back down. You laugh, quiet at first, then loud and mirthful, little honks interspersed in it.

You come down from your jovial laughter before sitting up slowly. You’re greeted by a glare and a blunt snap of, “What the fuck.”

You smile, “Nice toss Vantas. Weren’t expecting that. Got my respect.”

Vantas groans and repeats, looking at the ceiling, “What the fuck actually?”

You chuckle and say, “You are good brother. Wouldn’t mind fighting you again sometime.”

He sits up suddenly, staring you down before saying, “Please tell me you don’t mean that as a black flirtation because I will flip the fuck out on you.”

“Nah,” you shake your nugbone, “Meant like this. Practice. Nothing black. Could feel that weren’t what we would be set for. Least not without some fucker keeping me from accidently killing you.”

He stares at you like he wants to ask ‘what the fuck’ again, so you say, “Platonic shit is all up and what I’m spouting at you. No black, not wanting to be rivals with you motherfucker, just respect that you can fight well. That’s all it’s being.”

Vantas sighs, “Okay, platonic. Platonic I can manage.”

He gives you a once-over, then asks, “You’re just a walking sack of accidental flirting, aren’t you?”

You blink and shrug because you thought you were being obvious when you were considering black at him. Vantas growl-groans then says, “Well, if you want to have more practice fights, wait until the other purple bloods get here. We’ll practice until our fronds all fall off after that.”

“Sounds like a deal Vantas,” you say. “Sounds like a motherfucking deal.”

Chapter Text

Vantas tries to train his new troops the basics of real fighting for the rest of the night as you try to find shit to do so you ain’t bored as all motherfuck. Most of that ends up talking with Shrila when he had time, but he had things to do, so you moved onto scaring the threshers. This compound, for all the training area is wide, has lots of halls and vents to hide in and sneak through. Ample chances for scaring trolls or snooping on them if you have the pan or training for it. Which is what you’ve recent gotten in your pan to be trying to do right now. You got bored of the reactions of you suddenly appearing in front of random trolls by now, so you had thought to get more information on Vantas and his spacecraft’s crew. You quickly figured Vantas and his crew were basically the only ones properly outfitted in armor, while the older ones not part of his crew looked to be dressed as in military uniforms and the new recruits still wore their plain clothes. You found one of his crew members that way, and are stalking behind them. You didn’t see at them while on his ship; little brown with sign what reminds you of a ‘q’ with the end curled. Their hair is tied up, looking like a tail of some sort, and their horns are tall and look like a meowbeast’s slightly curled tail.

They made way down a few marked halls as you followed, leading into an area which was called as ‘sleeping quarters’, where several blocks are. You’re looking around the corner in one of the halls, the troll you been following opens a door at the back of the hall before walking in and closing the door behind them, unaware of you. You move forward and see a vent on the wall in the next hall, and you make quick work of getting in it before you start shuffling your way towards the block.

It’s a short shuffle to the vent that looks out to the block and you know it for the right block because of what you see as you peer out. It’s some sort of recreation block where trolls are scattered about, laying and sitting on the reclining devices, and a couple on the floor. The troll you were just following is standing and greeting a yellow blood with kisses that seem red even if they are short and light. The yellow is wearing a helmsuit with a sign that looks like a rounded sideways diamond with a slash through the middle. Oh, it’s an meowbeast’s gander bulb. Anyway, they have two pairs of horns, the smaller ones on the outside look a lot like Nepeta’s rounded meowbeast auricular shells, and the larger ones are sharper and more triangular meowbeast auricular shells with an extended point. Their hair is scruffy and short, sticking up every which where. Their gander bulbs are pure colors like Sollux’s, except they are light blue and bright yellow.

“Hissed you kitten,” you recognize the purring voice as the troll who Vantas asked about med-bay.

The yellow giggles, sparks the color of their gander bulbs show briefly, and you think there’s a pattern to it but you can’t discern it.

The other voice, the brown blood, purrs, “You k-yowl just meow to make me purr.”

You look over the other trolls and recognize some sitting together awkwardly. The olive with long hair and weird hump-like horns is setting up a board game on a table in front of them and sitting in-between the other two; the teal with short curly hair and small goat horns, and the violet with hair in several long braids and upward curved horns. There are some others you don’t recognize. There’s a yellow with a sign that looks like a diamond hanging off a curled string and two pairs of horns, one set being small half-circles and the other being slightly longer and more triangular half-circles, and hair that is shaved short on the sides with one slightly longer stripe on top from front to back. They have their gander bulbs closed so you can’t tell if they have mismatched gander bulb colors, and they are cuddling up on a chair with an olive with long straight hair tied up into a tail, a sign that looks almost like a hoofbeast with a horn off the top, and they have one very long conical horn. You stare intently for a bit, confused about how a troll can only have one horn, when you notice a tiny small nub of a horn on the other side. Which you can't tell if its broken or like that on normal basis, but they do have two horns.

You see another familiar troll sitting on the floor, the indigo blood with short spiky hair and a sign that looks like a legged slither beast, leaning against a jade blood. The jade blood has scruffy medium length hair, a sign that looks like a ‘n’ with a line through the curve, and with horns that are mismatched; one is a straight point and the other has a hook off the side.

“Hey Ronton,” the rust says.

The olive with tied up hair shifts and opens a gander bulb with a curious purr.

“Where is ev-furry-one else?”

The olive huffs, “Piling it up in private quarters more or less. If not that, then resting. Especially the helms. Pelenn here should’ve probably went to take a nap too, poor honey.”

“Ahilde is pailing with Yersai actually,” the long-haired olive states suddenly.

“Yes well,” Ronton says with a little bit of a growl, “Put that on the list of things I never wanted to know Hyatel.”

“Okay,” the other replies, “Yes, okay. I. Yes.”

Ronton growl-sighs and asks, “Why are you wondering Piizto?”

The brown blood with tied up hair giggles and replies, “I was just cat-urious!”

This is boring.

You push open the vent, the metal door flap clattering to the floor loudly as everyone in the block looks to it with a jump. You smirk and bend half out of the vent, one prong holding onto the lip of the vent, and your strut pods and fronds clinging to the sides of the vent as your torso dangles and you wave at the stunned trolls with a mild smile, “Sup sibs?”

The trolls all look a little ashen, blood drained out of their faces and the rust, Piizto, opens their talk blaster to go at saying something. You let go of your strut pod holdings and fall forward, your fronds flipping over your nugbone, and you let go of the vent as so you don’t break or sprain your wrist. Then you land on your strut pods as you once again wave with your other prong, same mild smile on your face. When no one responds, you feel a bit smug that you scared them all and pocket your prongs, still smiling. You plop down on your ass and ask, “So what, Vantas ain’t letting you get to being with your quadrants so you got to do it whilst he ain’t around or some such?”

A few of them glance at each other, and the violet and the brown look like they’re ready to pull weapons, but instead the teal scoffs and looks at you, “Ar yoo cra’? Yoo f’kin’ cra’. Em ain’t l’k that.”

You blink and try to rerun what they just said over in your pan again. Someone sighs and the legged slither beast indigo says, “Katach was saying that Martinet isn’t like that.”

The jade next to them laughs and says, “Yeah, Martinet only acts all distant and totalitarian like that when anyone outside of our crew is on-board. He likes acting professional in front of other trolls, but the truth is that he’s more our hatefriend then our leader.”

You blink and ask, “That on the level?”

The jade frowns, “What?”

You huff and say, “I mean, are you all being level with me motherfucker.”

“I believe the Grand Highblood is asking if you’re lying Tremen,” the indigo says.

The jade, Tremen, scoffs before saying to you, “Believe me or don’t believe me, I couldn’t care less.”

“Why do you want to know about Martinet?”

“Huh,” you say, turning to see Piizto frowning at you. You scratch your skull near your horn and say easily, “Not much reason. Figure I should try to get my know on at the motherfucker if I’m to be here for a while. Ya dig?”

Piizto continues to frown before Ronton asks, “So can we know about you?”

You turn and make a questioning hum before replying with a, “Depends.”

“We aren’t stupid you know,” they say, “You are dangerous and we all know it. Including Martinet.”

You shrug slightly, enigmatically smiling as they go on, “I trust that Martinet wouldn’t put any of us in undue danger, so I’m not too concerned about that, I guess. I’m just curious as to why you’re playing along. Why would a faithful like you decide to side with us?”

“Ain’t on your side,” you reply automatically. “I’ll always side with my family.”

Ronton frowns, “I’m even more confused now. Why are you here then?”

You sigh and bare your teeth a bit, getting frustrated, “Motherfucker I ain’t stupid neither. I have no desire to be up in here. When Empress speaks at you and all but tells you to do something, are you like to disobey?”

“No but,” they pause before saying, “I’m not as old as you, or as influential.”

You shout out a short ‘ha’ and say, “Sibling, age don’t mean jack shit since she and I are of the same number. Younger trolls always be thinking that we older got power and influence in abundance even in comparison to those as close in age. Nah, sib you looking at the picture too narrow. If I don’t acquiesce to the fuchsia fish, who’s to say she won’t just slaughter all us purple? You saying I should risk my family against the Empress’s forces? It’s bad enough as it is and I ain’t gonna be the one as does that.”

The yellow next to Ronton, you think was called Pelenn, quietly says, “But, couldn’t you just, I don’t know, tell the purples to stop all together? You are the, uh, Grand Highblood after all.”

Now that their gander bulbs are open, you notice that Pelenn has one gander bulb that is dark almost-black brown and the one light brown. You frown at their question and look away, not answering.

Truth is you probably could. For all you said no when Vantas asked, you could try to say something. But there ain’t no telling if they’d listen. You ran the motherfuck away, why would they listen? Especially after that whole awkward fuck up you did way back when, you know you wouldn’t listen to yourself. You’ve been running the situation around and around again in your pan for a while, and while you got a lot of thoughts up on it, you ain’t got no true solution.

“Hey,” you look up from your pensiveness and look for who said that. You see the yellow flashing psionics before the violet says, “Wiisne is asking about Shrila.”

You blink and tilt your nugbone, “What ‘bout him?”

The yellow flashes more and the violet speaks for them, “She’s worried that he isn’t safe with you.”

Your brow furrows in confusion as you go asking, “Why the fuck wouldn’t he be safe?”

The trolls go silent for a while before the violet says, “Well, he’s not purple.”

“And?”

The trolls look at each other and back to you, the olive with long straight hair muttering, “Faithful hate lowbloods, don’t they?”

“Look,” you say, lips twisting up in distaste, “You outside motherfuckers are getting close to stepping on shit that ain’t should be stepped on. Shrila is my family. Faithful don’t hurt their family.”

You bite back a comment about how these fuckers wouldn’t understand the meaning of family, and instead growl out, “End of motherfucking discussion.”

The block falls silent for a second before you announce, “You are all boring as all fuck though. You all to be asking too many motherfucking stupid intrusive questions and not giving me space to ask back at you. I’m out.”

You stand and turn, jump up to grab the lip of the vent, hauling yourself back into it. As you crawl, you hear one of them mutter, “That was weird and creepy.”

You snicker quietly to yourself as you continue to crawl, you turn a corner, wondering what you could do next.

“Seriously,” you perk up at the voice. Vantas. You crawl faster, making it to one of the ceiling vent lids. You peer out it but don’t see no one yet.

Vantas’s voice carries down the empty hall, “It’s like when I don’t want to see him, he is suddenly right fucking behind me, but when I’m looking for him he’s basically missing! If I didn’t know better, I’d say he left on an escape pod.”

You hear familiar laughter, then, “If he heard you saying that, he’d be smirking and feeling satisfied.”

That’s brother Shrila’s voice.

Vantas groans and grinds out, “Yes. Thank you. I appreciate you reminding me of the fact that every single one of you faithful fucks are goddamn jackasses with crap monkeys shoved up your nooks so far that they may as well change that to their official place of residence, while you all get the benefit of their fantastical shit throwing techniques. You all have shit throwing so fully mastered thanks to your literal live-in companions that not even one of you can manage to speak without expectorating feces out your chagrin tunnels with so much force that you could propel spacecraft through the vast cosmos.”

You try to process all what he said but you are still a little struck like back when he spoke at the pupa. Is this how he normally talks? He’s been all clipped and tight-lipped around you. Maybe the jade, Tremen or whatever, was being level when they said Vantas is only formal when he’s around others what ain’t his crew.

“No problem Martinet,” Shrila says pleasantly.

Vantas sighs loudly and you see three shadows before Vantas, Shrila, and Bergis appear in sights. Shrila and Bergis are walking beside each other, with Vantas leading out in front. “Fuck, I’m going to have to deal with four more of you fuckers. Please at least tell me that they won’t decide to randomly scare the threshecutioners like our resident clown.”

Vantas is obviously talking about you, but you wonder if it was you who he was talking on about before when he said something about someone not being around when he’s looking on for them. The thought that you’ve been accidentally avoiding Vantas’s search on at you makes you want to laugh, but you want to stay hidden still, so you cover your talk blaster as it smiles.

Shrila shrugs as the three of them walk under you, “Don’t know ‘em so I can’t say.”

“Right,” Vantas replies. “When should they be getting here again?”

Bergis yawns, then mutters, “Couple of hours? I haven’t done any,” he pauses to wave a prong before continuing, “math shit. I barely even really read it. All I know is they will be here soon.”

The group is no longer in your vision and you would move but that could give away your spot, so you close your gander bulbs and focus on their voices. Someone makes a disgruntled noise and you think it was Vantas for he was the one what asked. “Sorry about this I know you were getting some well-deserved down time,” Vantas says.

Someone, probably Bergis, grunts vaguely, then you hear his voice, “So what’s your grand old plan?”

Vantas groans aloud, a long exaggerated ‘ugh’.

“Fuck plans. Who needs plans,” Vantas snaps voice seeming to go gradually quieter. Their voices are beginning to fade and you frown, wanting to listen in, “Plans are for the weak. Faithful are unpredictable as, like, part of the religion or something so plans are moot point anyway.”

Bergis’s voice distantly replies, “I meant about the battle or whatever we’re calling it officially.”

You take gamble and decide to carefully turn around before slowly moving towards the sound of the group talking.

“Oh that,” Vantas says, the voice coming through muffled and strange. “Right, fuck, general time. Uh, okay. Since they are getting here sooner then I honestly kind of expected.”

“Probably because they want to see the Grand Pulpiteer,” Shrila mutters.

Vantas pauses before continuing, “Yeah, well. We still need to get the recruits up to par. Or at least subpar, shit’s sake. And as much as I really hate doing this, I’m going to have to opt out of helping them train for a while.”

“Retracting your personal touch?”

That sounded like Bergis, you think. “Oh please,” Vantas responds scathingly, “make me sound like some glorified pale whore, why don’t you. They need to learn to respect me and trust me. I can’t do that if I’m not there, fucktard.”

There’s a slight pause and you freeze in your movements. “Anyway,” you breathe a short sigh of relief and continue forward. “So, I’m going to let the lieutenants deal with that for a while. Meanwhile I guess we need to start training you guys against the purples? Fuck I don’t know.”

“Well, you could always wait for training against the purples until the current recruits are in better condition,” Bergis says. The next part is quieter, “I know you were hoping to figure out a way to end this, you know, without bloodshed.”

You stop.

“Yeah,” Vantas says quietly.

There’s a pause before he says, “Training the recruits is important so when that’s done with, we’ll go on to the next step, whatever that ends up being.”

“Right,” Bergis says.

Vantas’s words cycle through your pan; ‘we don’t have to kill them’.

He said something to that effect with you not present. Or at least, agreed to the idea.

But Shrila was there and Vantas seems to count him as a faithful, as he rightly should. Would he save face in front of a faithful?

We don’t have to kill them.

End this without bloodshed.

Do you trust what he’s saying? Do you trust he would actually do that? You know what you were taught. Those outside the faith are not to be trusted. Though that was opinion mostly based on your ancestor and what he said when he was still alive to be Grand. Scripture ain’t saying much on that. If there’s one thing you know, it’s motherfucking scripture. What it says on trust is that you don’t break it with your quadrants, you trust family and faith and Messiahs, and all else they must earn it. Though it does warn on likelihood of faithless deceiving and speaking heresy, it doesn’t say you absolutely can’t trust them, just to be careful whom you get to trusting. You don’t know if you trust Vantas. You don’t know anything about him.

Messiahs, you need to talk to someone about this. All of this.

For now, though, you let your thoughts churn around inside your pan like background noise and you crawl forward. You make it to the wall vent you opened and crawled in at first, just as Vantas, Bergis, and Shrila walk out of the block. An idea comes to mind as Vantas stomps past, asking loudly, “If you were a purple clown bulge where would you be hiding?”

Bergis walks past and Shrila is tagging behind slowly, frowning with his arms raised with his fingers linked together at the back of his nugbone.

“I don’t know,” Bergis mutters.

You wait and listen, trying to watch them without giving away your position. When it seems like Vantas and Bergis have both turned the corner, you pull yourself forward then brace your arms outside of the vent, against the wall, and you pull your fronds out of the vent until you’re awkwardly sitting. You check and don’t see anyone before you jump down, and you think maybe you should do laughsassin training for real because you think you’re probably failing compared to those what have full training. Then you go to the corner and peek around it, seeing the group walking, Shrila still trailing behind. You sneak forward quietly as Vantas grumbles under his breath things which you cannot hear clearly. When Vantas and Bergis turn another corner, you dash forward for Shrila. You cover his talk blaster and trip him, rolling backwards awkwardly, trying not to hurt Shrila, getting out of sight of the hall the others just turned onto. Your landing is mostly flubbed, with you falling on your back with Shrila on top of you and you winded slightly. Shrila is in much better condition than you, he gets off you and whirls around, blade drawn and snarl on his face. He halts and blinks when he sees you, and you put a finger over your talk blaster, whispering, “Not here.”

He puts away his blade as he nods. You wheeze a bit and try to catch your breath, embarrassed over your shitty laughsassin skills. Though it ain’t like you learnt much and it’s been sweeps since you even learned the little you know. “Shrila?”

You sit up at the sound of Bergis’s voice and Shrila yells back, “I gotta do something, I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Oh, okay,” Bergis says, sounding a bit confused.

You listen until the sound of footsteps fade off before you smile at Shrila and say, “Sup my brother?”

Shrila turns to look at you, smiling and replying, “Not a thing Faithful Minister. What you doing here though?”

Shrila moves and sits comfortably as you shrug and reply, “Trying to get a feel on of Vantas’s character.”

“Ah,” Shrila says, “How’s that going?”

You frown a little and say, “Actually I was being all to wanting to ask you about him.”

“Okay,” Shrila says, “I’ll be level with you about what I know of him. What you want to know?”

“Well he’s said some things what got me pondering and curious,” you say, “but I ain’t got a clue as to if I can trust the motherfucker. Is he trusted by you?”

Shrila’s gander bulbs widen a bit, his talk blaster opens slightly for a second before he closes it and furrows his brow, glancing away for a second before looking back and saying, “I trust him enough. He isn’t a quadrant or family, but I respect his age and skill, even if he says shit that ain’t.”

Shrila curls his lip a bit, “Well it ain’t all kind to the faith honestly. He does try to respect the faith though, more than some faithless I know at least. He will rant and rave about nothing sometimes but when he’s serious, he never says something he doesn’t mean.”

You hum to yourself, leaning your elbow on your frond and propping your face against your prong. Shrila speaks the next thing quieter, “I trust him to protect me and my quadrants.”

Your brows raise and Shrila continues a bit louder, “Hell, all of us really. I honestly believe he would sacrifice himself to save us or any of the other trolls under his command.”

You pause before saying, “Aight. Thanks, my brother.”

Shrila smiles faintly, but then frowns, asking, “Can I know why you asked?”

You smile vaguely, “Don’t worry. Not gonna do anything without thinking through it.”

Shrila huffs and says, “That doesn’t answer my question. But I guess that means I don’t need to know?”

“Nah,” you reply, “It’s chill. I got this handled sideways upside down and all fucking over. You get to your diamond. A little critter up and told me Vantas is looking for me so I best see to what he wants.”

Shrila laughs and stands up as he says, “Alright. Later.”

Shrila walks off and you stand, thinking about it for half a second before finding the nearest vent and crawling into it. You crawl around, not really sure where Vantas went, until you end up looking down at the training grounds. Underneath you are the group of trainees and Vantas, with just enough space for you to drop down. You smirk and judge the distance to the floor. About fourteen-foot drop? This will be hilarious though, you can’t resist it. You quietly and carefully remove the vent lid by grabbing it and captachaloguing it. Your grin is a permanent fixture on your face as you move your fronds out in front of you and then push forward with your arms, dropping out of the vent.

As the ground rushes towards you, you hear a familiar shout of, “What the fuck?”

Then you roll on your landing, the group of trolls screaming, and when you’re upright again, body poised for the next movement, you notice that they all scattered away from you. Well, except Vantas who is stomping towards your still grinning visage.

You stand fluidly and Vantas stops in front of you, screaming as he gesticulates wildly and goes red in the face, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Were you dropped on your horns as a grub? No, that wouldn’t even begin to explain the level of stupidity you display on a constant basis. I can't think of a single thing that could explain the vast amount of idiocy that I have seen from you. What the hell is wrong with you that you decide to scare the trolls here? They did absolutely nothing to you, bulgeface, and don't deserve this kind of incessant jackassery. They never asked for this and quite frankly it is unfair of you to go around scaring them just for your own amusement, because let’s be realistic, we both know that’s your fucking excuse. I have no idea what kind of things your religion teaches you, but I will not tolerate you going around and scaring the trolls I have command over. This will fucking stop; do you understand me? Did you even consider the fact that someone could have gotten hurt from your senselessness? I mean, seriously, most of the trolls here right now are young and untrained which means they have no idea how to properly protect themselves. Accidents happen sometimes, you nooksucker, what if someone got hurt? What would you have done then? Also, newsflash, shame globe fondler, these trolls are likely to attack you on pure instinct because guess what, that’s a normal reaction for trolls when they perceive themselves to be in danger! Then what, genius? If one of the younger trolls hurt you, they wouldn’t have any clue of what to do to help, so you would probably die. Then the whole fucking horde of faithful bastards would hunt me down in religious vendetta or some shit and what would I do? Interpretively dance like a retarded bark gnome looking for their lucky hat? Seriously, think these things through, asshole!”

Your face is prickling and tingling with fuzzy discomfiture, motherfuck you need to get used to his way of speak and quick, “Uh. Sorry? I think?”

Vantas’s gander bulb is twitching and you awkwardly ask, “You, uh, okay there bro?”

“No,” Vantas snaps, “No I am fucking not and that is entirely your fault.”

“Fair ‘nough,” you shrug. “Though I wasn’t trying particular to give you trouble. Then again I suppose at that I wasn’t trying to not give you trouble neither.”

Vantas pinches the bridge of his cartilaginous nub and hisses, “Shut up, just shut the fuck up.”

Vantas drops his prong and pointedly glares at you, “Four other purple bloods are getting here soon. As in, before the end of the night, probably.”

You smile at the good news and are about to make reply at Vantas when someone in the distance calls out, “Martinet, the ships have arrived.”

“As in right fucking now, apparently,” Vantas screeches the last word, throwing his arms into the air and storming off with loud stomps.

You want to follow, but also with Vantas’s current ire you’re a bit reluctant to let him see you, since you are the one what got him in such a fit of pique. You like jokes and pranks, but you ain’t wanting him to think you’re needling him on purpose, so you end up deciding to just sit where you’re at and think some on all what’s been swarming and swirling around in your pan.

Your family is in trouble and if you don’t step careful many a thing could happen: you could make unfixable tears and rips in the faithful what might cause separation for good and true, Feferi could all up and decide to just kill off the whole of purple blood so as she don’t got to deal with them no more, if it stays on course as it is now it will lead to your family being killed and with you as the prongs that guided the way. Yet Vantas says he doesn’t want killing of your family. He says he wants no bloodshed and you figure that means his troops as well as your family. Holy Mirthful Messiahs both, you want that more than anything; the want for no harm at your family clogs your squeal pipette like a lump of improperly chewed grubloaf, sits as thick metal in your lungs so breath comes raspy and desperate, causes dismay fluid to gather on your gander bulbs and threatens at pouring like rainclouds hanging low and fat in the night sky. You want it bad and if one told at you that your single death would make it happen you’d motherfucking gladly give that with an honest mirthful and holy smile.

Vantas says these things and said them in seriousness as far as you got knowing in you to tell on such a thing. Vantas said it and Shrila said Vantas is trustworthy. Shrila is family so you trust what he says at, and Vantas earned Shrila’s respect and trust. However, you still feel a bit uncertain about it. Not as you don’t think Shrila is good judgement or any such a thing, but you just met Vantas and trust don’t come easy even with family vouching for a motherfucker. Hate and distrust come easy as breathing for all trolls, not just faithful, and trusting is a battle what almost always needs to be fought together with the one you are trying to trust. But you’re in high motherfucking stakes right now abouts and you ain’t got time to be playing ‘trust you with something small to see if you’ll betray me’. Ain’t like to have time at fucking all. Dumb motherfucker as you is being, you know that. As you also know even, maybe especially, with stakes such as these you can’t be jumping blind down a cliff and trusting there be something to catch you or least cushion the fall. You need more time even such as you don’t got it. So, you be stuck in a loop of uncertainty when it comes at what you should or could be doing.

Plus, you want to make it so Shrila can commit to his faith. As it is now, no blood outside purple can go through induction as far as you know, and brother Shrila has a quiet sad acceptance about the fact that he isn’t considered a true faithful by even his own family. That shit must change. You don’t want any family turned away just ‘cause of color. You got a bit of an idea how to be fixing this problem; all you gotta do is stand up as Grand and say that ways are a motherfucking changing.

But with your previous flop and immediate abscond, you worry over whether they’d be all willing to take you back and not only listen at you but do as you say. You sigh at your own miserable self just as you hear some trolls walking all up towards you. You look up and see a couple of younger family members walking closer. They both are wearing the same sort of armor as the others from Vantas’s crew, one’s sign is a half-circle with what looks like a conical horn pointing out and up from around the middle of the half-circle. Their hair is short, shaggy and spikey, with their horns being kind of short straight-up skinny cones. The other is a bit on the chubby side, their horns curving up and in, and the two horns together almost make the shape of a heart but not quite. This one’s sign looks kinda like a backwards ‘c’ with two symmetrical dots off to the side?

You grin and stand up, walking towards them. The one with the half-circle sign has makeup that is mostly light grey, the dark grey shaping a grin with happy gander bulbs. Also, they gots little auricular fins such like you. The other’s makeup is also light grey base, with dark grey making a frown with droopy gander bulbs, and downwards tracks of dismay fluid. Aw shit, they’s being the masks of tragedy and comedy, that’s wicked sweet.

“Hey, my siblings,” you greet them with a light chuckle in your voice, “Like your faces.”

Comedy mask’s auricular fins flush purple and you have sudden renewed happiness over the fact that yours are all being covered by your hair all the time.

“Grand Pulpiteer,” they both murmur and bow quickly.

Comedy mask continues speaking once straightening again, “It’s amazing to meet you.”

They point to their friend and say, “They are Iunond.”

Iunond waves slightly, nudging the other slightly and muttering, “He is Adamel.”

“Nice to meet you Iunond, Adamel,” you reply with a purr lingering quiet in your voice. You feel a tickle in your horns, like faint sparks which tell you psionics are close to you, and you turn around. You see another sibling blink at you in surprise. Their ‘voodoos musta triggered the tickle in your horns. That don’t happen too often with a single sibling, either they got lots of strength in their ‘voodoos or need more practice controlling them. Or a bit of both, you ain’t able to tell in honesty. They got a body that is shaped as a female’s though you won’t say they are until you know certain of it, straight hair that falls into their face and horns that remind you a little of Eridan’s except these got rounded curves not jagged turns. Their sign is a circle with a diagonal line through it, and their makeup has light grey base with dark ovals around their gander bulbs and talk blaster, a triangle above and below each gander bulb. A face like its stuck smack dab in the middle of jollity and sorrow both.

You find smile in seeing another sibling and say, “Now what’s being all your name?”

They glance away, curling their prongs in front of their chest for a second before making signs. You snap attention on watching their signs. They sign ‘sorry, I did not mean to startle you’.

You snort and sign while speaking, “It’s fine. You got a knack for that though.”

The sibling blinks and signs ‘you can sign’, which you figure is a question.

You shrug and nod, saying, “Yeah.”

Adamel and Iunond walk to stand on either side of this other sibling and Adamel says, “This is Gaxxic. She doesn’t like speaking.”

“That’s all fine,” you reply. “Mind telling me about you lot though? Been missing some quality family time something harsh up in here, ya feel?”

Adamel smiles and Iunond scoffs, Adamel saying, “Yeah, we know what you mean. We get so lonely without these two near us. We are hatchmates!”

You frown a bit and half-ask in confusion, “You three get lonely without the other two?”

“Oh,” Adamel’s auricular fins are near to glowing with purple once again, “No! Uh, it’s, um.”

He scratches his neck lightly and glances away, muttering, “Quirk, sorry.”

“Ah,” you say easily as Iunond frowns in Adamel’s direction and Gaxxic lightly places a prong on his hair, smiling with closed lips.

“He gets lonely easily when we aren’t around,” Iunond speaks in a mumble. They roll their gander bulbs and speak in a fond teasing purr as they say, “Even though the three of us hardly leave each other’s side.”

Adamel shrugs with a soft smile, “We’re more used to being alone then having you both within arm’s reach.”

Iunond’s face twists between sadness and anger while Gaxxic frowns, signing ‘your lusus sucked.’

Adamel shrugs again, still smiling and your pump biscuit squeezes and throbs and stings all at once.

“It’s cool,” your talk blaster says without your permission, “Some lusii just ain’t all ready for all they’re meant to be.”

The three give you a parallel look akin to surprise and you feel discomfort growing in the pit of your stomach. “Vantas said there were four purples coming up in here though,” you say, itching for something else to talk at. “You know where they at?”

The three share glances and Iunond shrugs as Adamel answers with a vague frown, “We, as in the three of us, don’t know about them. The three of us are all in the same squad and don’t know much about what other family might be in the flaysquads.”

“That’s fine,” you say. Now that you think about it though, these are more siblings that know Vantas and could give you their view of him. “Got another query for you all though. How’s Vantas?”

Adamel smiles, “Oh, Martinet? He’s great!”

Iunond nods, “Yeah, he’s a great fighter and leader.”

Gaxxic signs ‘he is very respectable’ with a small smile.

Adamel nods, “Yeah, he’s very respectful to us too. Let’s us go to church pretty much whenever we want.”

“Unless we’re like, literally in the middle of a mission,” Iunond says. “Even then, unless it’s incredibly important, he’ll throw a bit of harshness but let us go.”

You nod mostly to yourself, “That’s good to be hearing.”

Then Gaxxic signs ‘we consider him an uncle.”

“We haven’t said that to him yet,” Adamel says. “Mostly because the three of us know faithless don’t understand faithful’s terms of address. So, we figured it’s still a well enough show of respect to call him by title, especially since he prefers that.”

You shrug, “Makes all sense to me.”

Iunond asks quietly, “Why are you curious?”

You sigh and say, “Got a lot I have to figure out siblings, and I need to know if I can trust the motherfucker. That’s all I’ll say for now.”

You pause before smiling, “Was nice to talk though, you all should speak at a brother called Shrila if you get a chance. He ain’t purple but he’s faithful as any I’ve met, and I consider him my family.”

Adamel claps his prongs excitedly and says, “Aight Dogg! That’s wicked tight!”

Adamel’s auricular fins turn dark purple and he sputters, seeming embarrassed that he just addressed you that way.

You chuckle at the little brother and say, “Aight then, peace be my motherfuckers.”

You see all three of them go purple down to their necks before you turn around and walk away.

Chapter Text

You walk down the way Vantas went earlier, walking through marked hallways, going towards the landing docks, when you hear a voice say, “So, I just wanted to let you know that.”

“Yeah,” you hear Vantas’s voice sigh in reply. “I can see how that might be a problem. So, like, does that mean you can’t be near him?”

“I have no idea,” the other voice whispers back.

“Right, of course,” Vantas says like he’s distracted. You should probably not just walk in and interrupt. Might be that you shouldn’t even be listening.

The door opens and you startle back, nearly getting hit in the face as you hear Vantas curse, “Fuck!”

You blink as Vantas stares at you, then you wave slightly and mutter, “Hey. Apologies. Was looking for you and I guess I found you, though not at the way I expected to be doing.”

Vantas seems to be on edge, bristling as far as you can tell, and he seems to bite back a hiss as he says at you, “Yeah. Didn’t expect you to be here.”

You tilt your nugbone, all being to confusion over his irritation. This ain’t like the same as before where he was snapping at you for being stupid nor like when you argued that time before you had a practice fight. Those times, he was all explosive and in your face, unafraid and bold. Now he’s all hunched and neck hidden under his chin, not fearful but perhaps a touch more defensive instead of the fire spitting he seems to do all the time.

You frown and before you can say or think at much else, a voice says, “It’s fine Martinet, I'll deal with this.”

Vantas turns to look behind him, brows furrowed and frown on his face. You look to see a troll with glasses, horns that curve in and almost form a ‘u’ shape, and hair in a neat single braid. Their sign looks like an outline of a gander bulb mask, the color is a shade of purple, and their face is bare.

You feel a bolt of ice that freezes you in place as the troll curtsies and mumbles, “Hello Grand Highblood. I am Imario. I regret to inform you that I am not actually faithful, I hope that does not upset you.”

Imario stands, nugbone ducked still in some kind of apology or maybe even a bit of guilt. Your pan is screaming with sirens and the feeling of discomfort at seeing a purple blood bare face. They all said they weren't faithful, but you are all being used to seeing holy faces on purple bloods. Sweeps in the church with family got you all familiar with it and it feels wrong to see someone all having purple on their sign and no makeup on. They made admittance that they are unfaithful, and you should all be looking at them as such, but. Fragments of scripture run around, and you know what it speaks on of faithless, you know, you know what you could and should be all saying as a minister when speaking at a faithless. You just never thought you'd have to speak it at a purple blood. You always thought that purple being faithful was a given. The need to care at all purple because they are your family is being thrown against the wicked harsh truth being presented at you, and it is clashing in your pan bad. You are honestly shaken right now.

“Nah,” you hear your voice say, speaking as a minister all should despite your internal dilemma, “nah, it’s your choice, right?”

Imario bows their nugbone briefly, “Thank you for understanding.”

“Why were you looking for me?”

Vantas’s voice snaps the ice out of you as you blink over at him.

“I want to go to church,” you state even if that wasn’t why you came looking for him. You motherfucking need to go to church right now. You need the comfort of family, the purples with holy faces, the solidarity in being with other faithful, you need space and somewhere to breathe far away from here with this unfaithful purple. You don’t got no personal problem with them, you don’t, just, you can’t fucking deal with it right now. You need to get gone and be somewhere shit all goes at making sense again.

Vantas looks shocked as he says, “Right now, seriously, while we’re in the middle of what could become a goddamn war? Are you fucking kidding me!”

Vantas runs a prong through his hair aggressively and then grabs the hair tightly, “No, of course you’re not kidding, none of you joke about going to church. God, damn it. You have to go right now, seriously? I have an army to train and an impatient Empress to answer to, you know that, right?”

Before you can answer, Vantas drops his prong with a frustrated sigh, then says, “Fine, get going. Don’t worry about Feferi I’ll, fuck, I’ll deal with it if I have to. Just, come back as soon as you can.”

You nod, relieved that he is letting you go, “Thank you Vantas. You got a ship as I can borrow to use?”

Vantas sighs lightly, “Yeah, I have a few this way, come on.”

Vantas walks off and you follow half in daze as he leads you to a door and pushes a button, speaking into it, “It’s Martinet and Grand Highblood. Just making sure the port is closed before walking out there.”

“Port is closed Martinet,” a voice chirps back.

“Good,” Vantas mutters before opening the door to a block where a few small flat grey ships are resting along with Vantas’s own larger ship. Vantas waves a prong over the block, “The smaller ones are all autopilot ships. The two at the end are the ones the purple bloods arrived in and I would check the fuel levels before leaving so that you know you have enough to go and come back.”

Vantas pauses and looks at you, asking, “You will come back, right?”

It’s almost a relief to see that he’s as nervous about trusting you as you are about trusting him. “I will come back as soon as I can,” you reply, “That I hold promise to.”

Vantas slowly nods, “All right. Do you know how to operate these ships?”

“Sure do Vantas,” you say easily, looking at the ships.

You hesitate slightly before saying, “Best be going since that port is being about to open soon.”

Vantas nods and walks out as you walk towards one of the ships and board it. It’s tight, with a tiny ass ablutionblock with not more than an itsy-bitsy load gaper, and a piloting area what has a screen and a keyboard. You sit awkwardly, tall horns barely fitting in the space, when you’re seated you see that the fuel is full before you type in your destination as “Church of the Mirthful Messiahs”.

A purple box pops up on screen with an angry beep, saying ‘access denied’ in black letters with a password box. You huff and type in your code; sign, hatch name, and hatch date. The machine clicks and the box says ‘access granted’ briefly before the purple box goes away and the screen reads, “Destination set”.

You wait for a bit before you hear Vantas’s voice come out crackly through the vessels’ communication feature, “All right Makara, you’re cleared for launch.”

You realize that this is the first time in a while he’s called at you by your hatch name instead of an insult. You push it off and pick up the pronghold communication device, pressing the button on the side and responding, “Aight bro. Peace out.”

Then you set the device down and push the autopilot button, then try to sit back comfortably. You don’t quite manage it in the cramped quarters but you ain’t one unaccustomed to cricks and bent wrong limbs. The twist of your limbs don’t bother you none, educator Kosezi always said it was like you had rubber for bones with how flexible you were, but the tilt of your nugbone so your horns can fit is hurting your neck already. You change the screen to window mode with a press at a button on the keyboard and the screen clears, showing the stars passing by quickly.

You watch them, transfixed by their glamour, mumbling a prayer to the Messiahs, “Beauty bright and otherworldly, only you can be the ones that made this be. Your magnificence shines brilliantly, stars and space such as these can only be made by your decree. Here in which you do your living free, with these stars as twinkle at your key. All there is was created so finely, by your prongs you designed all I see. You forged all I’ll ever be, every breath I take was given by thee. I will never forget all my Messiahs have done for me, I praise you both with unending glee. I thank you both and give you all the glory, as everything that ever was and ever will be you already knew as unchanging certainty.”

In the silence that follows your prayer, you allow yourself to be without thought, merely appreciating as you wait to arrive at church. The prayer made you feel better, more at ease; excluding that meeting you just had, you’ve been stuck up in space all too long lately. It set you all chafed under your skin, even as you could mostly ignore it, and you’re looking forward to being planet side. It may not be Alternia, but you’ve considered it your hive planet since you first arrived, and you’ve been gone from it for so motherfucking long. Church was built on an unnamed planet long ago conquered by brethren long passed, they rid it of all life and it has been built up over millions of sweeps; long before the Condesce exiled adults off Alternia, longer than that even, longer then she was even close to being a drop in a pail. None but faithful even know where it is, and faithless are only allowed in the church on very special cases, the church has a long-standing tradition of that. It is meant to be hidden for the family’s safety. You glance at the bottom right of the screen and the text says it’ll be about six hours to your destination. Well, motherfuck, you’re gonna be aching hard later.

Chapter Text

By the time you get a glance at the planet what has the church on its surface, the aching in your bones has settled deep down into the marrow, constant enough for you to have become accustomed to it to a point which it’s mostly ignorable. Your husk tenses and all but creaks at the anticipated relief, however, when you set your looking at the planet, and the aches sing anew.

After a few impatient minutes of muscles twitching as you attempt restraining their eagerness to move and watching the terrain come steadily closer with expectation at the same time, you see the top of the large covering and the entrance of the church come into view. The bright multicolored striped circular tarp causes you to gasp softly, enthusiasm racing through your veins and surely causing your gander bulbs to sparkle like the starry night. The ship descends slowly, the covering’s true size growing increasingly evident, even as more circular tents appear off to the side, and tiny concession stands under the covering become all apparent as well. A lot of the tents are interconnected and those that aren’t have lines strung up between them with little flags hanging down in shades of purple. Some of the tents are striped and some adorned with polka dots, but all of them are circular.

The area around the church has grass and trees what were brought from Alternia to make the planet have breathable air, and while there are enough trees around to obscure most of the church from a distance, the surrounding forest is not very thick. The forest on the rest of the planet is motherfucking impressive though. The whole span of the church takes up a very large portion of land, and the landing area is at the front gates. The front gates are just two poles with a banner strung up between it that reads “Church of the Mirthful Messiahs”, and a small booth where most of the time a couple of purples are stationed to welcome in family, while the landing area is just a flat area in front of it where grass is struggling to grow.

The ship lowers slowly down, aiming for a landing on that area, but you know the church well enough that you don’t even have to see all of it to know of its layout. The largest actual tent is at the back, several large tents connected to it, with medium sized tents between them, and small tents connected to the outside edges of the large tents. Then there are two other large tents disconnected from that structure and off to either side, also with a few medium sized tents connected to them. Then a few tents that are two medium sized tents connected to each other, and several medium tents with one or two small tents attached to them, all grouped close together. The whole lay of the church is a huge circle with the entrance as the bottom of the circle, and in the middle of the land is an open area with a large circular tarp covering over most of it.

The ship finally lands on the ground at the landing area after what feels like half of eternity. You rush out the ship as soon as you can, feeling relieved as you stare at the solid earth below you and you wiggle your toes against the coarse tough ground with a pulsing wave of relief. You can feel the static noise in your horns, a warm welcoming hug of your family’s ‘voodoos off in the distance. Small groups of purples ain’t noticeable with giving off ambient chucklevoodoos usually, unless you’re put to focus on it, but in a large group such as this and with many older bloods hanging all about, the church ends up always having this press of knowing others are around. It’s a comfort you missed very motherfucking much while out of the church.

You look up, noticing the lack of noise despite the feeling of ‘voodoos nearby. You figure it odd that you don’t even see no one at the entrance booth, until you realize that the new initiates must have gotten here and that a sermon is probably being held right now. You grin hugely and set to running towards the largest tent, the one at the back, what is the main church where the sermons are held. You race past the entrance and go through the congregation area what is under the large covering, where stands and the like are scattered about, the tent you’re aiming for growing larger the closer you get. You pant for breath and use your long gait as you can, trying to quicken your arrival, halting only just before the main entrance. You try to catch your breathing and push aside the cloth, slipping in as quiet as you can, and when you enter you hear a familiar voice speak with a surety that comes with giving sermons for a very motherfucking long time, “Clowns love them there stars, we do true.”

You immediately recognize Pontifex Prakis as the one giving sermon; they wear a simple robe in a pastel purple with black on the edge of the collar and down either side of the middle. Their hair all being an afro with some grey flecks in it, their horns all tall ones as go straight up then the tips curve in like a cane or some such. Their makeup is mostly dark grey with white curved triangles that almost look like leaking dismay fluid under both their gander bulbs, and a thin white line over their talk blaster that curves up into an almost smile on both sides. They ain’t even wearing their sign as you can tell, but you know they ain’t the kind to show that all too often since they tend to think they’re all being too old for that shit.

A group of twenty or so younger family sit all together, all-consuming eager interest turned at the Pontifex. The older ones of the family are further back from the younger, standing and sitting as they please, still razor sharp focused on the Pontifex but more in like-mindedness and respect then in wiggler excitement.

You step a bit further in and walk to sit near the edge of the tent. Prakis continues speaking, “But we ain’t like those kind that run around through them and are near living up there,” they scoff like they don’t understand the rest of the Empire’s obsession with staying in space and you can motherfucking agree to that misunderstanding full and well. “We love them stars for reasons others don’t. Listen well, for them stars are made and mold, from and by our Messiahs, at their wills and whimsies. That’s why we love them like we love our dear beloved Messiahs both. But my family, you see, we differ from the others. We differ in a many motherfucking ways, but I will speak at this one simple thing for now. Where the differ lies between us and them others that are up in the stars all the time. We love them stars not only because they are of the Messiahs’ make, but because we all got our believing on that our Messiahs are themselves in those stars, beyond those stars somewhere in the space that encompasses reality, making the whole of existence their hive. Just as we all are knowing that the Carnival of Afterlife is out there with them somewhere as well, having the most holy of everlasting festivals held within its tents with all the family that has passed all making wicked joyous noise.”

A soft murmur bubbles up, mostly from the older trolls, a congruent chorus of ‘amen’, ‘preach’, ‘truth’ as well as a couple ‘praise be’ and ‘Messiahs bless’ and you yourself murmur a soft, “miracles,” none of which interrupt the flow of Prakis’s sermon, but rather seem to add to it. Prakis’s lip quirks in a small smile at the noise even as they don’t stop speaking, “So you can see as to why them stars are sacred as motherfuck to us faithful. Which is why we use stardust for prayer and such, as the stars are intrinsically linked to our Messiahs, and that makes them most special to us. In their creation and destruction both we consider them works of the Messiahs’ wills. This is why stars are so special to us, my family. As well as why we treasure diamond true if you’re of the kind to be believing in that, as my own motherfucking fine old ass self is. Though maybe those sentiments come from being wistful at some sense in my old age and it ain’t like you’re going to be made to think towards things that you don’t already believe. Anyhow, I digress my family. Back to the point at claw which I was speaking at. Stars. Our Messiahs being beyond them somewhere and our reverent attitude towards those stars what were of making by our Messiahs. Stars ain’t a place mortals belong, my family.”

Prakis’s voice turns soft at that last sentence, almost guiltily resentful, then it switches to being laced with a growl, their talk blaster twisted in disgust as they say, “Even if the outsiders won’t abide and end up mucking up the place our Messiahs' reside.”

Some growls and soft hisses from the gathered crowd are heard but don’t dare to be loud enough to interrupt as Prakis goes on, “Stars and space are for our Messiahs, it’s where they be living, and every decent motherfucker knows not to be in another’s hive without permission, which is why we ain’t so fond of staying in space as long. But the faithless hardly got any common sense in them it seems, so it is no wonder when they get torn asunder by exploring and exploiting what wasn’t made for them. Even as the new Empress isn’t mandating exploration and domination as much anymore, faithless still don’t know how to keep out of our Messiahs’ hive. In addition, sad truth is we still gotta go about through our Messiahs’ residence. First time being the conscription that you all went through to get here in the first place, and I know for certain that many tried to resist going because faith made them balk at the idea of intruding on our Messiahs’ place of living, for myself and many more before me did the same. The sheer incredulous nature of those motherfucking heathens, am I right‽”

A loud cacophony of honks and whoops reverberates, the loud noisemaking coming from mostly the older crowd, though you hear some smaller younger voices hissing, as well as a static spark of irritation in the gathered ‘voodoos raising the hairs on the back of your neck, and you lowly growl in shared annoyance over the faithless heathen being at all disrespectful.

Prakis is smiling softly as they look over the crowd with what you see as pride in their family as they wait for the noise to die down on its own. Prakis knows when’s best to let the faithful get their noise out and when’s best to ignore it and speak on, and it’s a skill you wish to learn better in time. When it’s quiet in all but the irritable sparks in the ‘voodoos going all about between the gathered family like a feedback loop, Prakis speaks quietly, “I commend you, my family, for trying to stick to the faith we all hold dear. Sadly, as I said before, the nature of our world and Empire is that we have to go up and through the stars all too common.”

The irritation loop dulls out slowly as Prakis continues, “Back in my day, even one of my blood with filled quadrants would be considered for culling,” Prakis shakes their nugbone with a frown and amends, “I mean killing, I am unused to the new usage of the term, apologies. Old age is no kindness in learning new ways. But purples even back then, when the Condesce was still Empress, might be killed for trying to resist her orders. All us older ones know all too well how she was when she didn’t get what she wanted. For all she said she had a liking of us clowns, our old queen was ruthless and cold as the oceans she was raised in.”

You yourself grunt and huff, as some of the other older faithful rumble discontent over the old dead fish. Prakis ignores the noise as they whisper, “I don’t like thinking on all the family we may have lost due to them trying to hold onto their faith.”

The whole tent goes dead silent, even the chucklevoodoos still with pressing somberness. The silence holds until Prakis says, hushed and reverent, “Messiahs bless them and guide them to the Carnival of Afterlife.”

“Messiahs bless,” the whole of the family murmurs in unison, you just one voice in a mass of voices mourning lost family, as some of the family gathered here ducks their nugbones quickly in a bowing prayer motion.

Prakis smiles sadly, “Now we ain’t as like to be killed for it, if the new Empress is to be trusted at her word, though we are still under obligation of the Kindness’s order to go through conscription. But this ain’t about that either. I’m being all long-winded towards you right now, which was not my intention, but the purpose of this sermon is to ease the distress that I know you’re feeling right now over being made to traipse through the dwelling of our Messiahs like those heathens do.”

Ah, you remember this sermon; though no two are the same totally, you still remember the lesson that the younger family are about to be getting. The young crowd upfront shifts in what you’re certain is uncomfortableness and guilt, probably looking to their sides or at the ground. The older ones seem to soften up though, much of the ambient ‘voodoo changes to this sense of fond affinity for those as are all twisted up inside over this right now.

Prakis softens as well, smile fond, “I was in your strut pods many sweeps ago, family. Very many sweeps ago, mind you, yet I still recall the lesson very well. It is the same lesson I will give you now. Listen close, family young and old alike. We are not like the heathen.”

Prakis holds silence for effect, trying to let that first part sink in before moving on to explain, “We can travel briefly through the stars without raising our Messiahs’ ire or disappointment. In the first place, when anything is forced on you, our Messiahs do not hold you responsible for that. Only those that forced you are held responsible.”

The younger are still tense, so Prakis smirks and asks, “Can any of the younger family guess as to why that is?”

There is a quiet shuffle of nervous sparks from the young family, before a small voice says, “Because we are the Messiahs’ faithful?”

Prakis’s grin widens as they say, “That is right my sibling! Messiahs care for those that believe in them. So relax a little, because your Messiahs will watch out for you.”

The group of young family members all relax, a ripple of unwound muscles and slackened shoulders.

Prakis is still smiling as they go on, “Outside of being forced, we can travel through their residence as long as we are doing our Messiahs' will. Even then, we do not simply intrude and tramp through, we give respect to everything that our Messiahs have made and created, as well as showing respect to their hive. We pray to them to let them know when we’re about to enter their abode, so they know some of their faithful are going to be in the skies. Likewise, when we get to collecting that sacred special stardust, we give utmost reverence and respect to our Messiahs and their making. We take only what they’ve decided to give us, never taking more than what is needed, and never staying longer than is necessary. This is how we differ from the faithless in this one matter. Never forget this lesson, my family.”

Prakis chuckles to themselves at a joke you don’t know, “Now, any of the younger crowd have questions for me?”

“Um,” the same small voice from earlier pipes up.

Prakis looks at them and asks, “Yes, my sibling?”

“I just,” the voice goes quieter at the end, but when they speak again, it’s at normal volume, “What about if we plan to do jobs outside of the church? I-I mean, I know church and lessons come first, but if, if someone wanted to be a, a ruffiannihilator or something. I mean I just. I. Was curious.”

“Worry not my sibling,” Prakis says softly, “even in jobs outside of the church, the faithful are doing as the Messiahs' will, so they have nothing to fear as long as they do as they should. All the faithful are taught what is expected of them by the Messiahs, so worry not on that either, you will learn that in time. Even if a mistake is made, forgiveness can be given, for our Messiahs truly care for those that believe them and are willing to forgive sins.”

“Oh,” the voice says like a sigh of relief.

Prakis smiles and says, “Glad I could bring you some relief,” Prakis looks over the group of younger family members and asks, “Any more questions from my dear family?”

“When do we get to doing the ceremony that needs to be done,” someone asks.

Prakis huffs a small bit of a laugh, “We’ll get around to that in time, I know you all are excited to be initiated, but you only just got here my family. We still need to give you some more lessons, so you truly know what you’re committing to when the time comes. So chill a little and let us older family take care of you.”

You hear a hint of a huff but no verbal response, so they must be taking heed to Prakis’s word.

“Now, if there are no more questions,” Prakis pauses and no one speaks, so they nod slightly, going on with a smirk, “I believe it’s time to wrap this up. Now, let me make sure you were all listening to my long-winded self.”

Prakis glances over all the collected family, asking, “So, what the motherfuck do we say about them stars?”

“Stars are made straight from our Messiahs,” you harmonize with everyone, ‘voodoos echoing subsonic all together.

“Our Messiahs made them at their own wills, and trolls got to watching them even in times before the church existed,” Prakis’s voice has a tone that commands everyone’s attention, one that echoes through your auricular sponge clots and vibrates into your soul. It shakes you in the best ways, in the right ways, in the ways that make you feel reassured, despite the things that were tearing your pan apart earlier. It’s an experience you can’t hardly describe in all truth. It helps and it heals and you feel a part of something more than yourself. “Those trolls got to be making signs out of them most holy stars, so I ask my brethren, what the motherfuck would we be without our Messiahs?”

“Wouldn't be any motherfucking thing,” you and all the family around you shout.

“Motherfucking miracles, my family,” Prakis shouts part purr and part growl.

“Motherfucking miracles,” you near growl in heated excitement as your family shouts the same. You standing as the pounding feeling of kinship, togetherness, and power all pound against you from the base of your horns.

Prakis grins widely, teeth showing, “Praise be to our Messiahs!”

Your smile matches theirs as you and all the family echo, “Praise be!”

The family whoop and honk in enthusiastic worship and praise, and Prakis lets them be. You throw a whoop or two out yourself, feeling connected with your family and having missed praising Messiahs with those as believe in them. You know you did the right thing with the unfaithful purple now, even if you think on praying for them to find their way to the Messiahs, the knowing that you did right rings in your pan and settles you whole and completely on the matter.

“Let us all pray my family,” Prakis interrupts the raucous ruckus, the sounds seemingly sliced off with immediacy at Prakis’s speaking. The family ducks all their nugbones in prayer, and you do too, breathing a bit heavy to catch your excitement.

“Messiahs,” Prakis’s voice rings out, “we your faithful call at you to turn auricular sponge clots to our words and praise. All here believe utmost in you both, look upon us all and know we are your faithful, and the younger ones that are here will prove as much in time by committing themselves to you both. Until the time that they profess their beliefs, keep watch over them as well as the ones that have already committed to you both. We praise you our Messiahs, may your honks be heard throughout time and space without end, may you both live on beyond eternity and existence, and may your carnival rein forever, amen.”

A hushed resonance sweeps through the gathering, “Amen.”

Prakis speaks softly, “Be in peace and be in rage my family.”

After a bit of a pause, Prakis announces, “Well, what are you waiting for? Get the motherfuck back out there and make this holy church come alive with joyousness! It's been quiet for all too long out there. Those that don’t have jobs, look around, enjoy yourselves, learn, find what you might want to do, and above all listen, because we got many educators still having to teach you and they will call for you all to gather as soon as they are ready.”

You lift your nugbone with a smile, hearing some of your family chuckling at Prakis as the crowd makes way to the closest exits like a slow trickling stream. You soak in the warm feeling of your family being around, soft smile on your face, when a voice calls out, “Brother Makara.”

You turn and smile when you see brother Mimica with his usual makeup on. Light grey base with dark marks in a disconnected shape that looks like a plus around his gander bulbs, and a rusty red over his lips. His hair is short and spikey, and his horns all go up with a slight inward curve all at them. He’s wearing a short purple cloak with lighter purple ‘o’ shapes over top a loose fitting long black shirt tied around his waist, his water droplet shaped sign in rich purple over his chest, as well as tight dark purple pants and black and purple dress shoes. You notice that his chest ain’t hardly but a little distended and smile, walking up to him and giving him a hug, “Brother Mimica!”

He huffs and wheezes a bit as he says, “Yes, yes, I get it, you’re still a motherfucking natural at being friendly without a hint of hate in it.”

You let him go, and grin widely as you say, “How’s my favorite mime, Mimica?”

Mimica rolls his gander bulbs and says, “Fine I guess. Be more careful with those hugs though, seriously my brother, squeeze too tight and I’ll be all out of breath in a really bad way.”

“Apologies Mimica,” you say with a more sheepish smile. “I did be noticing that you all up and figured out some shit as to make your rumble spheres be hardly seen!”

Mimica snorts, “Yeah. It was not all that hard honestly, my palemate helped calm me down enough to see that it wasn’t half as hard as I thought it was going to be. Gotta be a bit careful with it, but it’s something that makes me feel more like how I’m meant to be, you know?”

You shrug, “Kinda. Glad to see you got it all up and figured out though.”

Mimica laughs softly, “Yeah, me too.”

He lightly jostles you in a friendly manner, “Though I forgot you were always being all chill and whatever over being called brother or sibling.”

“Oh yeah,” you say, the memory foggily slipping forward from depths forgotten, “You were the only one who asked at me such a thing, I think.”

Mimica snorts, “And you answered with ‘it doesn’t matter one fucking bit to me’.”

You nod, pan still a bit fuzzy on the memory. You were sober then, but the effects of the sopor slime left you with trouble recalling some memories. Once sober, you knew you had forgotten many things in your past, you could feel the missing pieces like gaping holes in your think pan, but you had no recollection of what was supposed to be there, you just knew something was forgotten. And since then, even newer memories fuzzed out or slipped off and disappeared sometimes. You read and reread scripture each motherfucking day to make sure you never forgot it because of that, not wanting to forget something so important to you, and it surely worked for your recall of scripture is part the reason you made it to the title of Minister.

You push off those ruminations and smile at Mimica as you say, “As I recall it, you got real heated upset with me over that statement.”

Mimica barks out a short bit of laughter, saying, “Hey now! I was hardly older then motherfucking eight! I was still thinking that everyone was hiding daggers in their words and lacing poison with their kindness! You can’t hold that against me!”

You snort, “That’s all true I guess. Like you say my brother, I’ve always been a natural at being pure friendly with family.”

Mimica pauses before saying, “The family missed their Minister these last sweeps. And their Grand, my brother.”

You frown a bit and say, “Yeah. I aim to be making up for all that.”

Mimica smiles, “Good to have you back in church, brother Makara.”

“Good to be back,” you say with all the sincerity in you. You decide not to add on nor think about how you have to be leaving soon.

Mimica walks past with a wave of his prong, pausing to pat your shoulder briefly, “Should go speak with Pontifex Degist. They’ve been all twisted with worry and guilt about you leaving.”

You glance at Mimica out of the corner of your gander bulbs, “Guilt?”

Mimica huffs with a frown, “They think they pushed you into something you weren’t ready for and blame themselves for how you panicked and left.”

Before you can verbalize anything, Mimica pats your shoulder one more time and walks off with, “Just wanted to let you know. Peace be, my brother.”

“Peace,” you mutter, watching him walk out the tent. You look forward a moment or two after he leaves and see that the tent is mostly empty now. You hear distant voices and even some instruments being warmed up outside, as most of those still in here making for exits even now. Prakis is at the back of the tent, and you can’t tell what they’re doing but they ain’t facing you, and you take a deep breath before letting in out in a rush. You got a lot to speak at them in what you know will be a short amount of time, so you best be moving.

You walk towards them, and eventually they turn when you’re a little bit away from them. They beam when they see you, exclaiming, “Gamzee! Little brother, it has been much too long since I last set oculars on you!”

You smile despite yourself, glad to see them, but it falls a bit as you reply, “I know. I make at sincere apologies for being gone so long.”

Prakis’s smile drops as they say, “No, little brother, I apologize. I should not have pushed you into the title of Grand when you were so unready for it.”

You glance down at the ground with a sad smile, “Still doesn’t excuse being out of church when I was needed here. Let alone for six motherfucking sweeps.”

You chew on your lip, feeling your chest thumping uncomfortably.

“Gamzee,” Prakis says quietly.

You hold up a prong and shake your nugbone, looking up at them with a more genuine smile, “Ain’t being your fault Prakis.”

“Can’t wholly call it not my fault either though,” Prakis says in a tone that means they ain’t being convinced that they didn’t have some fault in this mess.

You hum with a slight frown, saying, “Well. I’m making aims to be changing my absence of duty in all the shit as I was meant to be doing sweeps ago.”

You hesitate slightly before saying, “If I can still claim the Grand title as my own.”

Prakis snorts, “Little brother, no one’s ever stopped thinking of you as our Grand. If this is what you want, you have rights to it.”

You nod, “Thanks.”

Then you shift and scratch the back of your neck a bit, “Though titles aside, between you and me, it ain’t exactly about what I want in total truth. It’s all being about what the family needs. Everyone seems likely to think I got some power that I ain’t so sure as I got over the faithful. As it is, someone needs to protect us and since every motherfucker seems to think that’ll be me, I gotta do it ‘cause ain’t no one else stepping up to do it.”

“You’ve grown a lot lately I see,” Prakis says.

You scoff, “Hardly. To me it seems to be that the only reason I’ve up and all decided that I can’t run and hide no more is more or less ‘cause there ain’t no longer somewhere to be running nor hiding. Empress up and said my family was causing problems for her troops, and I ain’t no stupid motherfucker no more, I know what that could mean for us if she gets her ire set in stone. I gotta do motherfucking something, else the family will be in danger and I refuse to allow that shit, so I will stand even if I end up deader than my ancestor for it.”

You sigh and look at Prakis, “I got a lot of shit as I have to figure out my sibling, so I can protect my family, and I ain’t got no time as to figure it out in all strict truth. Need some motherfucking advice real bad.”

Prakis smiles slightly, “I can try my best to help you out, young friend. Come on though, old age makes me tire of standing, let us talk in my block.”

Prakis turns and walks as you follow close behind. You both walk through the flap at the back of the large tent, entering one of the smaller connected tents where some purple hued cushions and blankets are scattered around, as well as some papers; this is the shared living space of the trolls that live in the connected three small tents. Prakis moves on towards the small tents connected to the back of this one, going inside the one to the left. You enter Prakis’s personal block, which has the usual set up of a standing ablution chamber, standard recuperacoon, and a large vanity dresser. Prakis has old wrinkled yellowish parchment, quills, and inkwells of varying decoration collected on every available surface. Prakis sits on a well-worn dullish purple cushion with a bit of effort, and you sit on the ground, trying to think of where you should start.

“So,” Prakis says, “You heard something about family getting in trouble?”

You huff out your cartilaginous nub, “Yeah. Been going around gathering trolls for their conscription these last sweeps. This time I went and listened to what the Empress was speaking at the pupa and at the end of that, she told me that some purples were causing issues at her troops. All but told me to cooperate with her lead thresher too.”

Prakis frowns slightly and hums thoughtful soft in a manner you recognize as them being confused. You don’t have to wait long before they ask, “How did she go about that?”

“She asked me to help her, but in a manner where it wasn’t really a question,” you scowl and suppress a growl, “She woulda only accepted two outcomes, compliance or warfare, and I knew which my family was more likely to come out alive of. So, I couldn’t say no at her because she was like to take shit out on my family, and that I will not abide, I will not be the catalyst of the empire-wide eradication of us. She may act of a different manner from the old fuchsia in most ways, but every motherfucker knows she’s of the same make and mold, and there ain’t being no way I’m risking my family against that and all her various armies. Archeradicators, cavalreapers, ruffiannihilators, threshecutioners, and Messiahs know what else she got at her disposal? Nah, that ain’t being something our living bodies could survive. So, I complied and agreed to help, not having much of a motherfucking option, and from then had to hold my word of helping, even as she doesn’t motherfucking properly know that, until she says I’ve helped enough which she has yet to say. So, she told me to talk at her thresher about strategies.”

The air cracks like lightning briefly, a telling sign of Prakis’s rage as their face turns angry, scowl and furrowed brows as they ask, “She forced you to talk as if you were going to fight your family?”

You glance away and mutter, “Pretty much. She seems to think it as them being her enemies and,” you cut off, running a prong into your hair and gripping tightly, “Fuck my sibling, this shit is really twisted wrong-ways. Never spoke direct to her after she set her lead thresher on me. I ain’t got a clue as to what’s going on up in her pan now abouts, but I’m trying to find option to prevent any family dying. Can’t figure a right way to be handling this motherfucker though.”

Prakis softens a bit, still frowning vaguely as they say, “Tell me what all is going on.”

You sigh long and take a deep breath in then exhale out shortly, “Well shit. Like I done said, she hooked claws in me and then tasked me to help her lead thresher. Her lead thresher’s this nub horned verbosely vulgar brother what gander bulbs show he bleeds mutant red. For all it shocked a motherfucker to be seeing that, I felt no prong of Messiahs’ pushing me towards a true holy slaughtering rage. Shocked and brought up teachings what were true with the old Empress, but no whim urgent nor insistent. Plus, half thought it a sinful holy joke that he even be living this long and working for the motherfuckin fuchsia fish. So, I let that shit pass, and even as for all I don’t have much care in me over color of blood, I did not miss the slight of her doing that at me.”

When you pause, Prakis hiss-growls as they shake their nugbone, “Making you bow and forcing you to deal with the likes of a mutant. That’s low even for an ocean dweller and you can’t get much lower than the ocean.”

You scoff slightly, muttering with a slight shake of your nugbone, “Truth.”

You sigh shortly before continuing, “Had to go at answering his questions since that was what she motherfucking told me to do and I had to hold my word. Basically was a full-out interrogation, though I suppose not one in formal terms. Did not do it fully willingly, honestly. Didn’t have no desire to be saying any motherfucking thing,” you look up at Prakis and say, “Wouldn’t a never said anything what I know to be true family secrets. Ain’t no way, would rather kill myself than that.”

Prakis frowns and replies unhappily, “I know.”

It’s a matter what you two don’t quite be agreeing on, and you smile weakly at Prakis before making to continue, “Was not all that long. Answered simple questions I suppose. Talked at why I addressed him sibling, though that was before I knew at his gender, and all but outright said it was more an insult than any other motherfucking thing. He got that meaning clear enough, but went at doing as the Empress told him to be doing. Stalled as long as I could, he is having a tendency to be all talking on and on, so I let him go at it with little response. He went going on about how he wouldn’t be making me say everything even though I didn’t believe that noise for a motherfucking second.”

You frown slightly, “Though was not to last, was eventual that he directed questions at me. He aimed straight for asking at hints on how to gain advantage against purples. I knew he knew of our chucklevoodoos, for he made mention of them at one point. Though not by name of course. Tried a diversion of talking on his flaysquad's colors and how some bloods be at more susceptible to that shit, though I guess I made a slip of tongue in using the proper term for chucklevoodoos while speaking at him. So course the motherfucker asked at them in all confusion. Made at brief description and the dumb fucker somehow got bold enough to ask at me to use them at him so he could feel for what they be doing.”

You scowl and shake your nugbone, “Went at warning him how it was dumb as all fuck to be doing at that, but he insisted and I complied. Did it only a prongful of seconds, and after he made at plans of attempting to build resistance in his troops against the shit. I still don’t be thinking it is like to work, but I am not inclined in particular to help. Let alone in him trying at fighting with my family, so I let it be and that’s all being what his plan is for now. He asked other small questions on advantages, spies, and likelihood of purples that be in his flaysquads defecting. I answered as little as I felt was needed and, in some cases, did not hesitate to lie direct at his face, though if he noticed he did not bring issue to it. Told him about how the family respects me, but Empress already told him I was all being Grand Pulpiteer at some motherfucking point before I got around, so I figured it moot point. Did tell at him how I was being held at my word of helping, told at him how faithful don’t break their motherfucking vows, and told him that family ain’t really supposed to be at fighting each other. Though that was mostly a displeased muttering to myself what he heard.”

You sigh long and notice you’ve been staring at your strut pods for the whole while of you talking.

Prakis shifts and you glance at them as they ask, “Is that everything that happened in this interrogation?”

You hesitate slightly before looking away and muttering, “Told at him how it was better to die then betray family and he up and ended the interrogation.”

You pause then continue, “He held his word about not forcing me or making me say things I weren’t wanting to say even though I didn’t expect at such. Even once the Empress finally decided to show up, he asked me to follow saying we needed to start his plan, but once we were away from the Empress he said she would have forced shit outta me and he didn’t want that happening.”

You look at Prakis and say, “I know we don’t agree on color issues, but Vantas ain’t half bad despite his color. He gained some of my respect due to his holding of his word and his attempt to save me from the Empress’s direct claws. Plus, all he did during the while he was under my ‘voodoos were tense up and claw at the table a little, and when it was over it only took him a couple of seconds to recover and he did not even vomit or nothing. Is a little shithead spitfire most the time, but it seems he holds his promises and I be knowing he makes a good fighter.”

Prakis’s eyebrow raises and you feel heat rising to your face as they ask, “Can you explain?”

You shrug and half-mutter, all embarrassed, “We made a demonstration of adults fighting. He made rules of no ‘voodoos and no killing. Ain’t a rival true, but it was about an even match with me being held back. He managed to suplex my ass and gotta admit that shit was impressive for a mite sized thing like him.”

Prakis snorts and you bite your bottom lip briefly, saying, “Prakis, he all and done said at me that he don’t want no bloodshed in this matter.”

Prakis stares at you sharply and you mumble, “I, I want. I want to hope on that, motherfuck do I want that to be happening. I want to have my family be all unharmed and safe. I,” you cut yourself with a loud frustrated growl, tugging at your hair again and ignoring the dismay fluid threatening to gather in your gander bulbs.

“I just don’t know if I can trust him,” you huffily hiss out, guts churning with emotions what mostly compromise of guilt and fear, your pumper pounding in your thoracic cavity.

Prakis stares at you for a while before saying, “Do you got any basis to trust him on? He gained some of your respect and you said he held his word. Do you think he will hold to what he said about wanting to avoid fighting?”

“I,” you hesitate before saying, “His other faithful. I got to speak at them without him nearby. Three of them say they consider him uncle, and one says he respects and trusts Vantas even with his quadrants. All of them spoke on how respectful of the faithful Vantas was too, even if he sometimes says shit that is a bit unkind. How he speaks what he means often, even as sometimes he screams and grouses hotheaded noise at them. How family is allowed to go to church as they please barring one or two cases. Family spoke well of him for sure and they all trusted him.”

Prakis hums, face smooth, then says, “Well that is always good to hear, especially about him letting them all go to church.”

You sit up straight and say, “Shit, actually, that’s another thing my sibling!”

Prakis looks at you, surprised, and you say, “One of the faithful I speak on ain’t even purple! He’s a blue blood but he’s family true for all what I can tell. Is there being anyway we can properly induct him? ‘Cause it would be the most unrighteous shit to be baring him just because of color and I’d want to go at changing that quick as I could.”

Prakis chuckles and says, “You went up and got in a lot of shit recently it seems. You trying to make your life into a movie or some such? Chill out already little brother.”

You huff, faking hurt a bit, and Prakis smiles at you more genuinely, “Another thing, you were talking so much, lifting a burden of worry and doubt. It almost felt like a confession just now, you know?”

You snort a bit, all agreeing that it almost was an informal confession just then, so you reply, “Suppose it was in part. All this shit does not sit easy on my pan, my sibling.”

Prakis nods, “I would assume so. Though on the matter of the faithful blueblood, there has been faithful outside of our own blood before. Though that information has been mostly forgotten since there haven’t been any other bloods coming to join our faith since, well, the Grand Highblood was made Grand. Either way, he could join, though there would need to be a council. Almost like a trial, but of course not the same. Where all the priests and such, as well as the Grand, vote and decide if the non-purple can be trusted to join the faith. There’s a bit more to it, a little trail to prove themselves, but it’s not a huge task and nothing we wouldn’t expect out of any other faithful. It’s all a fairly simple process, honestly.”

“That’s the motherfucking bitch’s tits,” you exclaim, excited for brother Shrila.

Prakis rolls their gander bulbs fondly and says, “On the other matter, I got one question for you before I give any aid.”

You tilt your nugbone and ask, “What’s that?”

Prakis looks at you with an even face and asks, “What exactly are our family doing to the Empress’s troops?”

You blink, “Uh, attacking?”

Prakis raises an eyebrow, “Did someone say that specifically?”

“I,” you pause before muttering, “No, I don’t think a thing was said at what all was going down specific. Though use of chucklevoodoos was mentioned and I figured with all the Empress getting at me about it, what else could it really be? Speaking at strategies and training, Empress calling my family enemies. I don’t be seeing any other thing it could be.”

Prakis shrugs, stating in a voice mild, “Old Empress used to go attacking anything like it was her favorite pastime and had the inborn rage of one high in caste normally does. We both be knowing that the new Empress could share tendencies with her ancestor that we do not know.”

“So you saying,” you speak, trying to think on it now that it was pointed out to you, “That she could be attacking just because? Or that she could just be getting her rage on? I don’t know about that, you really think Feferi is just trying to start shit?”

Prakis blinks and then snickers, “My brother there was only one other time I got to hearing the Empress’s given name. That was when your ancestor and the old Empress were in whatever quadrant they were fucking in. Is there more I need to hear on this story?”

You grumble, face burning as you reply, “She’s just a sister, I guess. We were platonic chatting friends for less than two perigees and parted on good enough terms. Though calling her kin would be a stretch because she ain’t very respectful of the faith. Only reason I agreed to be all chat friends at her was part as a favor and part ‘cause I was motherfucking lonely, okay.”

Prakis snorts, “Alright, no need to get all defensive. Though that being the case, maybe this is some way of her trying to get in quadrants with you?”

“She got all her pity quadrants filled,” you say, opening your talk blaster to continue on how she once said she wasn’t all too interested in you for real, then you remember her odd message from before. Any-tide you want to glub a-boat any-fin, just swim on over, my doors are al-waves open Clam-zee!

“Pity quadrants ain’t the only quadrants,” Prakis says.

Motherfuck that’s another thing you hadn’t considered before now. You shake your nugbone, “Shit my sibling I ain’t wanting to believe this. She did send message that I thought was odd, but I ignored for she has a moirail. You thinking she be making up shit as to rile or some weird ass show on how she need to be calmed? Motherfuck, you be making me up and think this in new lights, my sibling.”

“It’s what I do, my brother,” Prakis says. “But take it with some warning. I have no idea of what her true intention is, but see if you can figure out what exactly our family is doing. Until then stall as much as you can, and remember even if our family is attacking, you can always tell them to stop and they would listen.”

“I,” you stop and glance away, “Yeah.”

There’s a pause before Prakis asks, “You think they wouldn’t?”

“Not,” you roll your shoulders and continue, “More like just personal doubts. I don’t have no doubts in my family. No, just being all thinking like, why would a motherfucker listen to someone being like me? All young still and having done run away once already. Plus, the weight of trying to keep the family together and safe. Scares a motherfucker, you know? The thought that my words or actions could go at causing family to be split or some such.”

“Little brother,” Prakis says quietly.

You sigh and say, “Causes me concern to have at that kind of power when I ain’t know how to wield it. Don’t want to do wrong by Messiahs or the family. Subjugglator as I am, this shit ain’t what I’m trained to juggle and it’s motherfucking hard to learn without breaking my damn toes or cutting open my prongs or something.”

You look up at Prakis with a frown, “That all making sense?”

“Yes,” Prakis says gently. “Don’t worry too much little brother, family’s been through worse than this both from outside and inside, and together we still stay. You ain’t likely to cause anything unfixable to happen. Just do your best and you’ll do fine.”

“Just saying that to make me feel better older brother,” you mutter while shaking your nugbone.

“No, I’ve been around long, I know these things Gamzee,” Prakis says firmly. “So have more confidence and remember that your family is always here for you.”

You smile and say, “Thanks Prakis. I appreciate you speaking with me.”

“Always, young one,” Prakis smiles easily.

You sit for a minute, just sitting and smiling, before you sigh and say, “I regret to be saying I got to go. All them words as I’m being held to means I must leave earlier then I be desiring. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Bring my blue brother to see if we can be getting him inducted with them other little ones. We’ll see if we can make this wicked ass shit be getting raucous soon enough. Feel me my sibling?”

“Sure do,” Prakis snorts. “See you soon my little brother, be in peace and be in rage. While you’re out, think on if you want to be the one doing the induction.”

Your talk blaster falls open a bit and Prakis smirks, “Would be a great thing for you and the young family. An honor you have well earned the right to do many times over. Just think on it while you go do Messiahs’ blessed work.”

“I, yeah, I’ll think about it Prakis,” you mutter, stunned with the honor and complement.

You stand slowly and pause to stare at Prakis, then say, “Missed this place and the family. Make sure all them as has gotten worried over me know I’m well and that the family’s been well missed.”

“I’ll spread the word,” Prakis says, starting to stand. You offer them a prong and assist them up. Once standing, they look at you and say, “You have been missed as well.”

“I know,” you say with a soft smile. After a pause, you smirk and ask mostly for old time’s sake, “Wanna pray with this motherfucker over me going back up in them beauteous stars?”

Chapter Text

You make it back to the training compound in the same amount of time what it took you to get there in the first place. Unfortunately, that means for all you can’t much tell in space, your body and pan be knowing that its daytime and you should be sleeping. So course with you being all up and awake still, your pan's throwing a wicked fit even before you get docked proper. Once the ship goes at being docked and you can all escape from your confinement, you near to ooze out the ship it feels like in your grumpy grogginess. You follow the hall you went down earlier and end up in the training area, wondering just where the motherfuck a brother could be getting to fucking sleep. You remember the halls as had markings of ‘sleep quarters’ and try to get remembrance of which way those were being. You were all sneaking and crawling through vents, so you'd have to be trying to pair those memories with the area you are standing in right now. Your pan grumbles and complains at you over too many thoughts and too much work, then up and calls quits on trying to think proper thoughts. Well shit, ain’t like you’re unused to that. Got good familiarity on doing shit without thinking deep on it. And sleepiness ain’t half as bad as what sopor done did to you in times past, so you can manage this just motherfuckin fine.

You’d still like to be getting at sleep soon though.

Your horns tickle with psionic sparks and you move without thinking, flicker-striding away until you can’t feel the sparks in your horns anymore. Right before you come to stop, you twirl and face towards where you felt the psionics. Little sister Gaxxic has her talk blaster open slightly with what seems to be surprise, then she quickly signs, ‘sorry’.

You flick your prong dismissively and say, “Nah my sis, it’s all being my fault. Normally woulda recognized chucklevoodoos but got all this sleep as is in my pan making me be all unobservant and acting on instinct. You feel?”

Gaxxic nods and you smile, chuckling a bit as you tell at her, “Heard not a motherfuckin thing of you coming up but felt tickle of psionics in my horns and movement went and made itself known. You good at sneaking silent sister, and I ain’t no skulking educator but got a bit of advice at you if you’ll make a listen at it. Try to leash them ‘voodoos some more when you get your sneak on at a motherfucker all purposeful, many ain’t gonna notice but those as got psionics will take note.”

Gaxxic nods and signs ‘yes educator Gimnas is always getting on me about that’.

She frowns slightly and signs ‘it is difficult’.

“Aw shit my sis, you all got taught on by educator Gimnas? They, or uh, he,” you pause and scowl slightly, muttering, “I forget, shit,” then you continue at normal volume, “But preliminary training and all that, educator Gimnas was all being there representing at laughsassins.”

Gaxxic smiles and signs ‘really’ you assume that was rhetorical question as she continues ‘was Gimnas your educator’, which you figure for honest questioning.

“Nah,” you reply, “Just preliminary shit. My proper educator was subjugglator Uzdavi.”

You feel shock bolt at your horns from Gaxxic and make assumption that it’s all being because of the way you spoke at subjugglator Uzdavi. But you don’t mind Gaxxic being all shocked, subjugglator Uzdavi honest did earn that address and you ain’t ever gonna be speaking on her any other way.

You distract Gaxxic’s shock though by pulling out one of your clubs, smirking, “See, clubs are all being my choice of weapon and juggling preference.”

You hold off on mentioning that your strife specibus is joker kind. Even with family that hasn’t done gone too well the few times when you made mention of it. Not like any got aggressive or hateful, but it has caused discord before so now you hold your tongue on it. It’s a most holy strife specibus and you honest don’t remember how you got it. One motherfucking night you had club kind and the next you had joker kind. You use the wide end of the juggling club to scratch an itch on your nugbone, muttering half to yourself, “Though I got named as Minister before I went on any official subjugglation jobs. And now I all got Grand title so like, I don’t have much subjugglation nor juggling going on in times recent.”

Gaxxic tilts her nugbone then signs ‘I see’. You let your club vanish back into your strife deck and Gaxxic shakes her nugbone slightly like she was being all distracted. ‘Anyway,’ she signs with a small smile, ‘I got to prying around’.

You snort and say, “Course you did, you wicked little ninjatte.”

Gaxxic smirks and signs ‘found some things of interest going on’.

You smile and ask, “What you got found?”

‘Most of the different army generals are here’ she signs excitedly.

‘The general of the Ruffiannihilators appears to be moirails with the general of the Archeradicators. The General of the Cavalreapers is a brown blood. The chief Diplomatross has not arrived yet but is expected soon,’ Gaxxic signs like she’s giving you an intelligence report.

She hesitates, frowning as she signs ‘the Empress came as well, however she and Martinet started shouting at each other and the other generals left to sleep for the day’.

You scowl and hesitantly ask, “What are they getting argument over?”

Gaxxic signs ‘you being gone’, which be exactly what you were afraid the answer was.

You groan and mutter, “Shit my sis, point me their way, I should go do shit as an adult would seeing as I’m all apparently being the reason they thought to be fighting at each other.”

Gaxxic nods and points with her thumb before turning and walking the way she pointed. You follow her, a little peevish over not being able to sleep yet. Can’t these motherfuckers wait till tomorrow for this shouting shit?

You don’t pay a mind to the signs on the walls as you follow Gaxxic. She turns down a hall, and you see that it has a single door at the end of it.

Then you hear a shout of, “Would you just fucking listen you insufferable-”

A higher pitch voice yells over the first, “No, you listen-”

You scowl and Gaxxic turns to you, quickly signing ‘good luck’. You grumble and walk towards the shouting.

“He is coming back, you war-humping psychopath,” Vantas’s voice shouts.

“How can you be sure of that, you stupid retarded asshole,” Feferi’s voice shouts back.

You stand in front the door for a second to sigh before opening the door. Both turn to look when the door opens. You see Vantas’s shoulders relax slightly as you walk in, then he turns to Feferi, who looks right fully pissed off, “See? He’s fucking here now so chill the fuck out!”

Feferi snarls loudly and you blink all in surprise, but before you can say anything Feferi turns on you, shouting, “No, okay, Gamzee you are not allowed to leave without my permission!”

You frown, slightly baring your fangs as you ask, “The fuck not sis? I all had business at church and came back quick as I could. No harm was done.”

“Exactly,” Vantas shouts, throwing his arms up.

“Gamzee I know you and I absolutely do not trust you or your capricious behavior,” Feferi snarls at you.

You laugh despite the situation, asking, “Then what was that you told your matesprit about trusting me with his moirail? Was that all being a front faced lie in aims to settle him, so you could be getting what you needed?”

Feferi grabs the collar of your shirt and pulls you toward her with a surprising force. She ain’t never used physical force in your recollections of her. You notice that her gander bulbs are more of an orangey-yellow then pure yellow as she growls in your face, “Do not change the subject. This is not about Aradia or Sollux. I know you don’t care for blood color enough to make an issue over her being the helms to your ship. Plus, I know Aradia is a strong troll and she could easily whip your ass if you did cause her any issues. That is why I believed that Aradia was safe being your helm.”

Feferi lets go of your shirt and shoves you away, making you stumble back slightly at her strength, as she finishes with, “That has nothing to do with trusting you, and it has nothing to do with this.”

“Ain’t my ship,” you snarl, “it is all yours sis. I just borrowed it.”

Feferi scoffs, “Yes, because that is the important thing to point out! Wow, you’re so smart Gamzee!”

You scowl slightly but don’t take the bait what she set up. You ain’t gonna be the sucker as gets reeled in by her. You take a slow breath in before saying, “Feferi. What. The motherfuck. Do you be wanting from me?”

Feferi bares teeth at you, growling, and you look at her calmly as you continue, “I spoke at your lead thresher, I answered questions so as he could make battle strategies, I have acquiesced to both you and him in many motherfucking ways in recent times. All I asked was some time at church and in honesty most the time what I was gone was spent in the spacecraft waiting to come and go from church. And, as soon as I finished my business in church, I came the motherfuck back. And here all I am, still acquiescing, so what the motherfucking shit more could you want from me?”

“You to have not left in the first place,” Feferi screams.

“I ain’t got no way of changing the past,” you state simply.

Feferi growls again as she slowly says, “Don’t you dare leave again.”

“You ain’t getting that,” you say flatly.

Feferi’s fins flare out and her gander bulbs are true orange now.

“I got a faith I hold to and I will not condemn myself to meet your wishes,” you say.

Feferi bares her jagged fangs at you, but before anything else can go at happening, you and Feferi are lifted with red and blue flashing psionics. Your horns vibrate and ache from the inside out, teeth gritting as you use your psionics, trying to push out a wave of fear against the painful electricity. The psionics blink out of existence in a manner unexpected and you fall to the ground.

You hiss as your horns still twinge, cursing, “Motherfucker.”

“Apologies,” a voice speaks mechanical through some speaker box somewhere in the block.

“What the fuck,” Vantas shouts, “Helmsman?”

“Confirmatory,” the voice replies, eerily blank of emotion or life, “I was attempting to retrieve some personal artifacts from the database where I stored them and noticed some tension. I merely did what I thought necessary to prevent further altercation between the conflicting parties.”

“Would you please disconnect from the goddamn ship,” Vantas asks. “You’re doing that creepy emotionless voice thing.”

“Apologies,” the voice replies once again.

“You don’t need to apologize,” Vantas states firmly. “I do seriously recommend getting your pan back into your body.”

“Recommendation noted,” the voice flatly says. “Unrelated, a troll matching the records of Diplomat Duelfire is traveling to this block at a pace which suggests running. I would suggest leaving the block when or before he arrives. Unless you want to be a perv and watch them pap it out.”

“Oh, my god,” Vantas groans, slapping a prong on his forehead and cheeks going dusty red, “Even when you’re in helms mode you’re still in erogenous assmuffin.”

“I try,” the voice says. Just then, Eridan runs into the block, sliding and stumbling to an awkward halt.

He is wearing some pretentious violet, black, and gold outfit with his jagged sign on it. The outfit is all a mix between armor and old Imperial Fleet wear, like the kind what those as were captains of boats that sailed the ocean wore. His hair is disheveled for what must be being the first time you ever saw it as such. He looks at Feferi, pushing his glasses so they are firmly situated on his face, and he speaks in-between gasps of breath with that odd accent of his, “Uh, what is goin on here?”

“I’m trying to deal with this capricious obstinate troll as an Empress should when their order is disobeyed, or their rule is threatened,” Feferi snaps at Eridan, still surrounded in psionics.

“Whoa, okay,” Eridan says. He steps forward as the psionics once again go out of existence and Vantas quickly tries to scurry out the block while you flicker-stride out the block, wanting no part in of or near this.

“What the fuck,” you hear Vantas whisper-shout from behind you, and you stop a few feet away from the block, waiting for him to catch up.

He closes the door behind himself and walks up to you, brows furrowed in confusion as he asks, “How the fuck did you disappear?”

You shrug in replace of an answer and Vantas groans out a sigh.

“Hey brother,” you say, changing the topic as you walk beside him, “Can I ask at you something?”

“Sure, why the fuck not,” Vantas says almost like a mock.

Motherfucker sure does like being hateful with his hatefriendliness. Almost like he’s just platonically hateful and forgets the friendliness what is part of being hatefriendly. You ignore it, thinking – and knowing on some levels from what experiences you've had with him so far – that he ain’t of the kind to hold back when he’s being truly hateful or aggressive, so he would most likely make it clear if he was all mocking for true.

“What the fuck is my family all doing anyway,” you ask.

Vantas looks at you, and you continue, “I ain’t knowing for certain all what my family is doing to aggravate you motherfuckers, none has told at me what exact was happening yet.”

“Oh,” Vantas says, “I guess I forgot in the fucking.”

He makes an all-encompassing gesture with a grimace before looking at you and answering, “Several groups of purple bloods used their mindfuck psionic powers to terrify one unit of each branch of the Imperial Army, as well as one Gamblignant vessel. But then they stopped and have not done anything else yet.”

You frown to yourself as Vantas pauses, then listen at his continuation, “We don’t know how many are in each group, or honestly if it’s just purples that are attacking. Only one of the groups had face-to-face contact with one of the groups. The group talked with one of my flaysquads, and my flaysquad reported that they met with three other purples, so it is assumed at this point that all the groups are purple bloods. More specifically, the three purple bloods Adamel, Iunond, and Gaxxic spoke with the group of purples and told them a joke so that they stopped using psionics?”

Vantas shakes his nugbone slightly, “But yeah. Even if other blood castes are working with them, I assume there must be at least one purple in each of the groups for each of the Empire’s units to report the usage of mindfuck powers. I’m not even sure if the one group ceasing their attack means all of the groups stopped attacking, or if all the groups are independent. There have been no reported injuries or physical attacks yet. That’s about all I know, which is not a fucking lot. And I’m not really sure how the fucking thing about the joke makes any sense but what’s new when it comes to you clowns.”

Vantas looks at you with consideration, “If it is just purples, could it be that they are not really attacking and are just fucking with us because we’re not faithful?”

You hum slightly, this new information all soaking in your pan, as you answer, still frowning, “Not sure. If they are purples that could for certain be their reasoning.”

You look away and scratch the back of your neck a bit before saying quietly, “Can’t speak too much in detail about this, but trust my word that if they are faithful, it does not sound as if they ain’t planning on attack. Much as I hoped it was a misunderstanding somewhere.”

“Well shit,” Vantas says simply.

You look at him and change subjects slightly, nervous on him asking more about what you just said, “The joke makes all sense by the way.”

Vantas looks at you and you see him bite the bait on purpose, to accommodate you, raising one brow in skepticism as he asks, “Really now? How is that?”

You nearly collapse on knees and thank him for not trying to make you speak at the other topic.

“Remember on this, no faithful wants to be at attacking family,” you say, “so your faithful done made themselves known to be in the squad so that none of the faithful would attack or terrorize each other. Simple shit really, the joke was all just being a means of talking, a way of seeing that they all belong in the same family.”

“Huh, okay, that kind of makes sense,” Vantas says. “In the vague sort of way anything related to this fucking religion makes sense to someone who’s not part of it.”

Hearing that sort of speaking, you can understand why Adamel, Iunond, and Gaxxic consider Vantas an uncle.

“And that’s probably the best sense you’ll ever make out of it since you ain’t ever gonna be part of the religion,” you say. Then you frown because that came out not quite the way you meant it and you look at Vantas, adding on, “I say that with respect. I get that you ain’t ever gonna believe in what I do and appreciate your respect towards faithful and the faith in light of that fact.”

You pause to think for a moment, hesitating slightly before saying, “I do have respect at you, kin.”

Vantas makes a confused face, then asks, “What? Kin?”

You huff a bit in laughter and say, “Family’s got a lot of terms of address outside brother, sister, and sibling. As you earn respect you earn higher terms of address. You are kin to me now, even if you don’t understand what that all means.”

“Right,” Vantas says hesitatingly, “thanks, I think?”

“No problem,” you say with a smile.

“Right,” Vantas says all tactful like you’re trying to prank him. You wonder on if you should try to make it known that you ain’t aiming to be pranking him on this, but he seems to get over it sudden with a huff and a distracted mutter at seemingly himself, “I should make sure Helmsman is okay.”

You blink and say, “Can I be coming with?”

Vantas squints at you slightly, asking, “Why the fuck do you want to?”

You shrug, “I don’t know. Boredom I be guessing. Or some form of tired deliriousness making its peculiar whimsy be known.”

“So, you’re saying,” Vantas states slowly, “That you want to come because you’re either bored or because you’re so tired your pan is going delirious.”

You chuckle, “Kin, delirious is a place well known to my pan. In truth, it is all shades of plausible that delirious is being my pan’s hive and any other place what it goes is mere vacation. In fact, I’d be saying that going ain’t being the right noun to be using since that makes suggestion that it ain’t already there. When a wicked whimsy, delirious or not, hits at me I ain’t being the kind to go at questioning why. I am of kind to just do it. You know?”

Vantas stares at you for a spec before pinching the bridge of his cartilaginous nub, snapping out, “Right, so. You’re a literally mentally unstable clown with absolutely no impulse control.”

You snort, “Sure, I guess a motherfucker could be saying that.”

Vantas drops his prong and glares at you slightly. Then he snaps, “Fine, follow me if it really satisfies whatever weird fanciful purple stained clown boner you have over doing abysmally stupid things. Just as long as you don’t polish your own autoerogenous shame globes over it while I’m near you.”

“Nasty,” you chuckle quietly, uncertain if you’re smirking or grimacing.

“One other stipulation,” Vantas adds on, looking at you with somber seriousness, “If Helmsman doesn’t want you in his block, you can’t go in there.”

“Uh,” you frown, “Okay I guess. Why would a motherfucker go in uninvited?”

Vantas frowns, “Don’t take it personally. I just wanted to make sure you knew that just because you’re walking there with me doesn’t mean you automatically get some kind of privilege to go in his block.”

“Never went and thought that in the first place, but okay I all verbal agree if that’s being what you want to hear,” you say.

“For what it’s worth, thank you for making it verbally clear,” Vantas mutters.

You ain’t sure what you’re meant to be doing with that, uncertain why he speaks it with weight of importance, having no reply, for saying something such as ‘you are welcome’ feels like it would be the wrong thing to say. You ain’t knowing why you feel that way, but you do, so you stay silent with lack of anything else to say.

Luckily Vantas stops at a block door soon enough and loudly knocks on it, saying loud enough so whoever’s on the other side can hear it, “Helmsman. It’s Karkat and the Grand Pulpiteer. I wanted to check in on you after the debacle earlier.”

“I’m fine,” a voice says with a slightly garbled voice. Like they, you think Vantas called them him, like he can’t quite manage to make his sounds come out right. “You can come in if you’re going to be that incessant. As for the other troll, state your sign and hatch name please.”

You blink and reply, “Sign Capricorn, hatch name Makara.”

The door gets pulled open suddenly and you startle as the troll in front of you gasps, tone colored with shock and disbelief, “Makara?”

The troll you are seeing at is gangly, scrawny, and old as fuck. His hair is bushy, pure greyish white instead of black, which is a thing you never saw with no other old troll, his skin is wrinkled, and his teeth are yellowish. His gander bulbs are pure black, and the skin around his gander bulbs has multiple crisscross patterns of scars that you recognize as damage from psionic backlash. Don’t happen too often with the chucklevoodoos that family has all got, but lowbloods like Aradia and her moirail do have issue with this happening on occasion.

He leans closer to you, breathing in through his talk blaster with furrowed brows before he mutters quietly, “You’re not him.”

You frown and ask, “I’m not who?”

The troll steps back and blinks, frowning as Vantas says, “Okay what? You knew a Makara?”

“A Makara with a Capricorn sign,” the troll mutters. Then he says at normal volume, “You’re not the Makara I knew. What is your given name?”

“Gamzee,” you reply.

The troll frowns again before saying, “Come in, both of you, I’d like to talk with you.”

The troll steps aside and lets both you and Vantas walk in.

“Sit down where you like,” the troll says quietly. You walk into the cozy living block and sit in one of the chairs while Vantas sits on a nearby loungeplank. The troll joins you last, sitting in a chair and staring vaguely in the direction of you and Vantas.

He takes a breath before saying, “By the way, my full name is Mituna Captor. You can call me Helmsman, if you would like.”

“Captor,” you mutter, scratching your nugbone as you mutter question at yourself, “Now why the motherfuck do that got a familiar sounding note in it?”

“Sollux, the guy who’s Aradia’s moirail,” Vantas states.

“Shit bro I just met him like, the very same motherfuckin night I done met at you actually,” you say with a frown. “How can I be expecting to remember all the bits and pieces of his name?”

Vantas sighs and rolls his gander bulbs, stating, “You remember my name, don’t you?”

“Been dealing personal at you for a little while now,” you reply, “Only met at that yellow bro for like a motherfucking minute.”

Something lines up in your pan and you say, “Wait, if you and that brother got the same hatch name.”

Helmsman snorts and Vantas says, “Wow, fucking wow.”

Helmsman smirks and answers the question you didn’t quite ask, “Yes, Sollux is my descendant.”

You stare at him and ask, “How all are you still being alive then?”

“Makara,” Karkat hisses in tones sharp with anger.

Helmsman don’t hardly seem to even breathe for a minute, but then he speaks, “The old Empress gave me the boon and curse of elongated life. So, I have lived for around six hundred sweeps, I think. It gets hard to keep track of the time after so long.”

“Well shit,” you say, a bit unsure of how else to respond to that. Then you ask, “If you knew a Makara with my sign does that mean you all knew my ancestor the Grand Highblood?”

“Oh my fucking god,” Vantas mutters under his breath, all aggravated.

“Yes. I knew him.” Helmsman hesitates before saying, “He. He was a good clown.”

Your talk blaster falls open a bit as stunned shock hits you full force. Helmsman starts laughing after he says that, little scoffs of hollow humorless laughter, laughter that is sad and mournful. It’s a tragedy to be hearing. His laughter trails off eventually and once he’s done, he sniffs and rubs at one of his gander bulbs, wiping away gathered dismay fluid that had not fallen yet.

“He asked me to say that if anyone ever asked about him,” Helmsman says quietly, smiling slightly. “I’ve been waiting for far too long to be able to say that to someone.”

Helmsman’s smile drops slightly as he whispers, “That was the last thing he ever told me.”

“Shit,” Vantas hisses.

“Motherfuck,” falls out your own talk blaster right about the same time.

Helmsman smirks slightly, scoffing before he wonders aloud, “I wonder what face he would make over the fact that I got to tell his descendant.”

“I’m sure he would be beyond the motherfucking moon and stars with happiness if he could be hearing you speak that of him,” you respond quietly, without hesitation, awe and respect in your voice. This brother still be mourning for your ancestor well after he’s dead and gone, and you ain’t sure what all you should or could be doing about helping him mourn, but you will remember that Mituna Captor said the Grand Highblood was a good clown.

“Is that like,” Vantas asks quietly, “some faithful saying or whatever?”

You nod and say, “Speaking well of a passed brother? Yeah, that’s definitely a thing respected.”

Helmsman makes a little ‘eheh’ of a laugh, saying, “You’d think he tell me that but oh well, it hardly matters now.”

“So, Helmsman,” Vantas asks going at changing the subject, “Are you okay?”

Helmsman rolls his gander bulbs, “I’m fine mini Vantas. Don’t worry too much about me. I know what I can handle.”

Vantas frowns, “I know. I just wanted to make sure.”

“Wait,” you interrupt, “Why’d you all call him ‘mini Vantas’?”

Vantas slaps a prong to his forehead as Helmsman says, “I knew Karkat’s ancestor.”

Helmsman bites his lip briefly before continuing, “In fact, I was one of the three trolls he trusted most while he was still alive.”

You blink and there’s a long moment of silence before Helmsman says, “That was a long, very long time ago. Over five hundred sweeps ago, at least. And I didn’t know Kurloz until almost thirty sweeps after Kankri died.”

“Kurloz,” you repeat, confused, “Kankri?”

Helmsman scoffs, “Sorry. Kurloz was your ancestor, the Grand Highblood. Kankri was Karkat’s.”

“Oh,” you reply faintly. Honestly, you’re confused as to why your ancestor got to be telling this brother things like his full name when he was all one of the Sufferer’s closest followers. All that shit as in your pan over teachings on the mutant heretic came from words spouted out the Grand Highblood’s very own talk blaster. It just ain’t making no sense to you how them two things are all both being a thing at the same time. Then again, you’ve recent learned at a lot of things you never thought were a thing, so maybe surprise and confusion shouldn’t come too easy at this point. Plus, it ain't like this brother be the mutant heretic himself, he all just knew him. Still, you be all shades motherfucking curious.

“So all like,” you say, “can I be asking as to why my ancestor was friendly at you? Sorry for the intrusion, but I’m all just confusion. If you don’t want to answer I won’t make no trouble, over your choice to make no rebuttal.”

“Holy fuck, do not start that again,” Vantas hiss-growls.

You ignore him and continue, “For this is being all manners private, and I ain’t aiming to make any amount of disquiet. But a brother what has the curiosity, must be asking at by what whim caused this generosity. For all as I know of the one you speak upon, he was never known to be at sympathetic at those what were non. Faithful never got to see him hateful, but certain he held regard disdainful for those as were unfaithful, and I am being unable to see how this got to be all the exact opposite of baneful, for you and him both.”

“What the fuck are you even saying,” Vantas hisses.

Helmsman snorts, “Okay, I am not even going to try to respond with slam poetry, I am completely unable to do it. However, I suppose I can answer your question.”

Helmsman pauses before continuing, “Kurloz and I were moirails.”

Helmsman glances away, cheeks yellowing, “It obviously didn’t happen all at once. Honestly sometimes I’m not even sure how it happened exactly. But we sort of tumbled ass backwards into a moirallegiance over time.”

Vantas asks, “Wait, seriously?”

Helmsman frowns and mutters, “While he was still alive we couldn’t really tell anyone about it. It was too risky. And after I was freed, well, I just never thought it was important to tell anyone. It’s not like I am ashamed of it or regret it or anything. It’s just. I’m old, I should have died long ago with everyone else I knew, and my past shouldn’t burden anyone else.”

Helmsman looks back near you and Vantas, saying, “That being said, of course I don’t particularly mind sharing it either. Maybe not with everyone, but I trust Karkat and mini Makara has a right to know since it was his ancestor.”

“You didn’t have to tell me or nothing,” you say, “but thank you for saying at it to me anyway.”

Helmsman snorts, “I know I didn’t have to. You already said that, too. Just because I can’t do slam poetry myself doesn’t mean I can’t understand it. You’re welcome though.”

“So like,” you start.

“Here we go again,” Vantas grumbles.

You glare at him slightly before asking Helmsman, “What were you all meaning by it was too risky to be speaking at your relationship to others? And that bit on you being all freed or whatever?”

Helmsman stares at you as Vantas shouts, “Okay no, that’s too fucking far. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

You frown and ask, “What you be meaning? Just innocent questioning kin.”

“No,” Vantas says, “Okay, no. That is not an innocent question.”

Your brow creases with your confusion and Helmsman says, “I think he honestly doesn’t know.”

“Know at what,” you mutter, looking from Vantas to Helmsman.

“I am the Helmsman,” he says, “The Psionic. The single pilot of the entire Battleship Condescension, the Condesce's slave. I was her prisoner and her favorite torture victim for countless sweeps. I was her lover and her hater and her toy. Platonic, romantic, hate, pity, apathy, desperation, fear, humiliation. It didn’t matter what she wanted. If she wanted it, she would find a way to get it out of me, no matter what it took to get it. I belonged to her in every sense of the word. Whatever she wanted from me, I could not refuse. Not only because I was literally physically restrained, but because being her captive wore on my pan eventually too. I hated her and pitied her and wanted her dead and wanted her alive. I wanted her as much as I didn’t.”

Helmsman, and it feels wrong to call him that now, smiles like a mock, empty and bitter, “My captivity still fucks with me to this day. It’s been six sweeps since she died and I was freed from her, but nothing is alright. And it may never be again. At least, not for me. Though in the end it doesn't matter because I'm basically a long dead troll living on borrowed time.”

“Fuck,” you say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I really didn’t. I’m sorry.”

Helms – Captor. Captor’s smile fades and he replies, “It’s okay. It’s not like you had anything to do with it. And it was completely my choice to reply, let alone tell you that much about it.”

Vantas stands and says, “Okay, I think we’ve stayed here too long. I’m sorry about all this Helmsman.”

“It’s okay, really,” Captor says, smiling faintly.

Vantas frowns and starts walking out of the block, so you stand to leave with him. You’re tired as all fuck and you’re like to be getting lost more than you’re like to be finding your own way to some respiteblock. Even more like to just be passing out in some hall somewhere or up in the vents. So you’d all rather be just going and asking at Vantas where them respiteblocks are being.

“Wait a second if you don’t mind,” Captor says quietly as Vantas closes the block door behind him.

You look at Captor and he stands before he says, “Look, I don’t mind the curiosity, I really don’t. Kurloz was like that sometimes too. He had a need to know and understand things. But I want you to remember something. Just because I’m okay with answering questions doesn’t mean everyone is.”

You frown as Captor continues, “I have had a long time to grown numb to what happened to me, and maybe that’s not healthy, but that’s why I’m okay with answering these questions despite their nature. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will be okay with it like I am.”

“Everyone,” you question, “Who else done went through bad shit at the old Empress’s claws?”

Captor stares at you for a second before saying, “Countless. Many of them are dead now. Some not so much. I won’t say names because it’s their place to talk about it if they want to. Most trolls don’t want to think about what happened to them. They will tell you when and if they are ever ready to.”

"Alright, I guess," you say, frowning and blinking, confused as to why he’s saying this to you.

Helmsman snorts and shakes his nugbone before saying, “Okay, you can go if you want now, you dumbass clown.”

“Aight,” you reply easily, pushing off the weird thing he all just said to you as you leave Captor’s block, and close the door behind you.

You walk for a little bit, when Vantas turns a corner ahead of you and walks up to you. You stop and he says, “I just realized that you have no idea where the respiteblocks are.”

He turns around and says, “Follow me and I’ll show you where you can sleep.”

“That’d be the bitch’s tits, kin,” you reply, “because sleep does call at my pan real loud right now.”

“Ugh,” Vantas groans, starting to walk down the hall as you follow, “I’m too tired for conversation, just let me try to help you get to a damn respiteblock.”

You snort, “Fine kin, I’ll make at silence as I be following you to that there respiteblock.”

“Good,” Vantas grumbles, yawning after.

Chapter Text

Dad is laying in the shallows, waves lapping against his back, as you splash about in water that comes up to your knees. You are little, about one sweep old, maybe two, and dad is as huge as he’s always been. Dad is resting his nugbone on his front legs, watching you out of the corner of his gander bulb as you stomp, kick, and throw water into the air. Salt makes your skin sticky as you play and giggle, your polka dot pants soaking up water as wet sand shifts between your toes. You run around and try to climb up dad, tightly grabbing some of his wet wavy matted fur in your prongs. Dad snorts, picking up his nugbone and turning to look at you. You smile and giggle as he nibbles on your hair, before tugging at it with meaning. It hurts a little and you comprehend what he’s trying to say. You let go of his fur and look at him, chittering at him in apology. He bleats, nuzzling his cold cartilaginous nub against your auricular shell. You squeak and snicker, pushing him away and running to his tail, trying to scramble up the slippery scales, being careful of your claws. You get on the thick muscle of dad’s tail, balancing as you walk up it. Dad snorts and lays his nugbone back down.

You are on his haunches, where the fur and scales blend and change from one to another, when a huge wave crashes into your back and you slip off, yelping before you fall into the turbulent waters behind dad’s back. Something moves quickly underwater as you thrash in the deep water, you’re so little you can’t stand here and you’re terrified, water stinging your gander bulbs even as you squeeze them shut. Something grabs the collar of your shirt and lifts you out of the water before the current can pull you into even deeper water. You shiver and whimper, dismay fluid in your gander bulbs as you’re set on the sandy shore. You sniffle, and dad nuzzles you, licking at your wet hair and clothes to try to dry you. He rumbles as you sob, rubbing at your dismay fluid that tracks down your face, your makeup ruined. He nuzzles and dries you with his odd tongue as you sob from the terror of thinking you were going to drown.

You turn to him after a while and hug his neck, gripping a bit tightly but not pulling on his fur, and he pulls himself ashore, curling up around you as he tries to comfort you with quiet bleats and rumbling purrs that nearly sound like growls. You hide in his wet stinking fur, gross wiggler sobbing, hiccupping and wailing, hoarse gasped breaths between shaky ones, snot and dismay fluid all over your face, shaking and trembling in pure fear. Dad is with you through it all and once you start to calm down, he moves and pulls away from you. You whimper and reach for him, he affectionately bumps his snout into your chest, then he snorts and carefully grabs the front of your shirt in his teeth, tugging at it gently. You’re wet and salty and miserable and you need to fix your makeup. You snivel and pout, stomping one of your strut pods and grinding it into the sand.

Dad snorts angrily and bleats demanding. You shuffle your strut pods and give in with a sag of your shoulders. You hug dad again, chirping and chittering at him, thankful and caring, before letting go and dad watches you as you walk back to your hive. You keep on glancing back at him, moping as your still wet clothes already feel stiff and sticky. You’re going to have to wash both yourself and your clothes as well. You stop near your front door and turn around to look at dad. He snorts and rolls his gander bulbs, laying down and resting his nugbone on his front legs. You smile and turn around, walking into your hive, but pause as you hear a loud knocking. You frown and struggle to open your gander bulbs, wondering when you closed them, wondering who the fuck would be knocking at your hive, and wondering why dad wouldn’t get all aggressive at them.

The knocking gets more impatient and louder and you growl. Your gander bulbs finally open and you are not at your hive. You slowly blink your gander bulbs, growl dying out, your pan fuzzy and groggy.

“Wake up,” a voice shouts. “It’s Martinet and I need you awake.”

Oh. You’re on the army training base or whatever. And that’s Vantas. You’re sleeping in a pile in a living block. There was a proper respiteblock with a recuperacoon in it and the second you saw the cocoon, you had locked the door to the respiteblock and closed it so you couldn’t get near the cocoon. The locking ain’t nothing more than a pretense of control really. You did it most for the thought that it might all keep what temptation at bay, or offer slight hindrance instead of the open invitation of sopor within easy grasp. In all reality, you figure you could break down the door if you really wanted. If you really needed.

You think you should stop thinking on that now before temptation sinks its claws and fangs in too motherfucking deep. It’s been sweeps since you’ve been all left on at your own near a cocoon and you refuse to let yourself go back to them old habits.

The pile you’re in is made from towels and cushions from the loungeplank and chairs. It’s incredibly soft. Too soft. You were so tired last morning you didn’t even bother to find anything hard to shove into the pile. The cushions are kind of hard, but just barely, and you’re certain that if you weren’t so tired last morning you would have had trouble falling asleep.

“Makara,” Vantas shouts.

You groan and shout back, “Kin, why are you going at waking me so abrupt as this?”

“Sorry,” Vantas replies. “I need you to get up though.”

You grumble and ask, “The fuck kin? What is it you need me for now? We all got staying awake so fucking long last morning. Can’t you be letting a brother sleep in?”

“Trust me, I’d rather still be asleep too,” Vantas says, “This isn’t my idea. Feferi wants to talk to us both.”

You groan loudly, turning on your too soft pile and closing your gander bulbs again.

“One more hour,” you mutter loud enough for Vantas to hear, “Just lemme be at sleep for another hour, please kin.”

“Oh,” another voice says, surprised, “Hey Karkat. Is Gamzee awake yet?”

You sigh quietly before making at reply, “Give me a few minutes and I’ll be out.”

“Alright,” Feferi says cheerily. You scowl slightly, her cheeriness rubbing you raw since you’re all grumpy and sleepy still.

You sit up any ways, rubbing at your face and trying to wake up. You get off your quickly made pile and walk to the ablutionblock, scratching your skull near your horn as you yawn. In the ablutionblock you stop to look at your reflection. Your gander bulbs are drooping half shut and three diagonal scars run across your face. Even as tired as you were last morning, you did remember to clean off your makeup, for that is all what you are meant to do ‘cause it ain’t being a good thing to wear it overnight. Causes skin problems and all that bad shit.

You turn on the faucet and cup your prongs until there’s a small puddle of water in them, then you splash that water on your face to wake yourself up. You shake your nugbone to be rid of the excess water and for half a second think on how you should probably use the ablution trap soon. You push that thought off for later and dig through your pants pockets until you feel your packet of special stardust. You grab the bag and pull it out of your pants carefully.

You close your gander bulbs and whisper, “Oh Holy Messiahs both, a faithful brother is all calling at you in prayer. You both all be knowing already that I’m all in your hive, for I made sure to be telling you that before I left church. I am simple just asking at you to bring my makeup out of this miracle of a modus, so I can make at putting my holy face on for the night. In your names I pray, amen.”

You grab a pinch of your special stardust and flick it into the air above your nugbone. Your modus pops something out, you grab it quickly and without thought. It is your makeup and the tools to be putting them on, so you smile at the fact that your Messiahs were being kind at you tonight and declare all out loud, “Motherfucking miracles.”

You carefully place the makeup and tools down on the counter, before going about carefully putting your holy face on. Course first you all cover up the scars, then put on the white, and finally you carefully do the dark grey designs as shape a laughing talk blaster with gander bulbs as look angry, curved triangles all shaping your cheek bones, and little circles on your temples. The face be initiate clown makeup in all truth, but you be too attached to change it. It’s quick work, really, you do it thoughtless and proficient in less than five minutes. You check that there are no cracks, patching up any spots that do split as you move your face around. Once you’re satisfied, you clean off the tools, then store it all back into your sylladex.

You stretch, taking a deep breath, then walk out of the ablutionblock and through the living block, then you open the door. Vantas and Feferi are standing nearby and they look at you when you walk out. You wave and Feferi smiles, “Hello Gamzee.”

“Hey sis,” you reply easily.

“I reel-ly wanted to speak with you both,” she says.

You nod and she says, “First though, I’d like to apologize for last morning. I was. Quite stressed over all this hull-a-beluga.”

Her face flushes pink as she mutters, “Not that I’m trying to make any excuses. I be-reef I went too far, and I want to apologize.”

You smile slightly and say, “I’m just all glad your pale brother got at you before shit went too south.”

“Yes,” she replies, flashing you a toothy smile, “I am too, honestly.”

Feferi looks at Vantas and says, “I’m sorry for carping on you too.”

“We were all tired and stressed,” Vantas states firmly. “Don’t worry about it too much. Anyway, I’m able to hold my own in any argument, so.”

Feferi snorts, “Yeah, I know.”

You all pause before Feferi says, “I suppose we should start walking though.”

Vantas nods briskly and Feferi starts walking, you and Vantas following behind. Vantas is doing that formal march business again and you realize it’s been a while since you’ve seen him do that.

“So,” Feferi starts, “Again, I’m sorry for the things I glubbed earlier. Now that I am no longer floundering with a crabby attitude, I would like to pacific-ly clarify that I am quite eel-ated with your kelp Gamzee.”

Feferi turns to smile at you briefly before turning back around and continuing, “You have been whale-behaved and act-shoal-ly rather cooperative. I wanted to make shore you knew that I appreciate you being so kelp-ful. I shouldn’t have made you leaving for a short whale into such a titanic issue. This whole situation is relatively stormy sailing, so I hope you understand why I got upset so easily.”

It’s ‘cause she don’t trust you. Which is all fine since you don’t trust her neither.

“Yeah sis,” you say, “I got my understand on. Don’t worry none on it.”

You hesitate before asking, hoping to be free of holding your word, “Does this all mean that I have helped you to your satisfaction?”

Feferi sighs and replies, “I will be satisfied once I know for certain that no one is attacking.”

You can work with that, you think.

“I’m gonna be holding you to that sis,” you say, even as you don’t trust her, holding her to it means once you have fulfilled this condition, regardless if she tries to be at making you do more, your own word won’t no longer be held at her whim and you will all be not having to do no more then what she just spoke at you.

Little loopholes are set in like that so faithful all has an option to escape being held at their word to one who proves themselves unworthy of that privilege or, in your case, when you ain’t got no option but to be held at your word for fear of what could happen to your family.

“Right so,” Vantas speaks up, “If you’ll excuse my curtness, what is the real reason you want to speak to us? Apologies could not be the only reason you asked to meet us.”

“Unfour-tuna-tely you’re right crabcatch,” Feferi says. “Sea, I be-reef we need to discuss some very fin-portant things. I need you two to let minnow exactly what we cod do. I mean, I am very conch-cerned a-boat all this. I want my empire to stay together, buoys!”

You all walk out into the training area and Feferi turns around, stopping in front of you and Vantas. You and Vantas stop, Feferi frowning as she asks, “Gamzee I need to know if this is a sea-rious conch-cern. Are the faithful act-shoal-ly attacking the Empire?”

You hesitate, frowning as you know the truth is that the groups as messed with the Empire’s troops could be all planning attack, but that don’t mean the whole family be wanting to attack, and either way you ain’t certain.

“I can’t say with total certainty,” you hedge a truth by omission, concern for your family always forefront on your pan.

“Look,” Feferi says, “I have no glubbing idea how your religion works, but I ab-shoal-utely need to know this Gamzee. We may not al-waves get along swimmingly, but I do want to prevent this as much as you do.”

You have doubts on that, and you figure her first instinct would to be protecting the masses over protecting your family. Just like you are being all the opposite, protection of your family being all before protection of your very own life. You mull it over, careful of your answer for the retribution it could bring upon your family and for not wanting to lose the trust you’ve gained with Vantas. He is the closest to an ally as you got outside the family and you need him on positive terms with you.

“I,” you start, glancing away briefly before looking back at Feferi, “Look, I ain’t aiming to make no promises nor vows on this, but I can all try to say something.”

You scratch at your skull and continue, “Ain’t no telling if they’ll up and listen at me, but I can try. If I’m all motherfucking full of luck, they may just get at stopping their antics.”

“If you could do that, it would be fucking great, honestly,” Vantas says, looking at you with what seems to be hope. Your guts all churn and flip but you keep your talk blaster the motherfuck shut.

“Yeah,” Feferi says quietly. After a pause she adds on, “If you need to go back to the church or water-ever for that, please eel free to do so. Though I would like it if you told someone before leaving.”

“Can certain do both those things,” you reply easily. You were nervous about the fact that you are all supposed to be going back for induction soon. Which reminds you, Prakis offered you to be doing them inductions. You near forgot in your tiredness. You set that thinking on a back burner on low heat, thinking on it in the background even as you pay attention to all else that’s being around you.

Feferi smiles and nods, saying, “Though perhaps not right away. We still have some-fin to glub a-boat.”

Feferi then turns back around and starts walking once again.

“Sea-ing as we have moray to do, I be-reef the troops should begin prac-fish-ing,” Feferi says. “I know that Gamzee will try to glub at the other purples soon, but until then I think it would be in everyone’s best fin-terest to start preparing just in case.”

You frown and Vantas speaks up, “Well, in some ways I agree with you. However, I think the top priority right now is training the new recruits to be able to fight regularly before we do anything else.”

Feferi hums and you’re starting to think that you can mostly sit out on this conversation seeing as it’s all about shit what you ain’t got much control over. Feferi replies, “Fair enough, I suppose. How-ebb-er, cod-n’t you shrimp-ly tell your, uh, what was the word? Not general, below general but still high ranking?”

You wonder if Feferi’s lacking knowledge in military terms is an exaggerated act of disinterest. Vantas supplies the word she’s all looking for either way, “Lieutenants?”

“Yes, that,” Feferi replies offhandedly as she turns down a hall and walks with purpose. “Cod-n’t you shrimp-ly tell them to do it?”

“I could,” Vantas answers with hesitation. “However, I believe it is better overall if I do it myself. It gains their trust and respect, which sometimes is an issue because of my blood color.”

Feferi turns to look at Vantas, asking, “Reel-ly, after all these sweeps it still causes issues?”

“Sometimes,” Vantas says simply.

“Well phooey,” Feferi humphs. “I suppose that leaves us in a bit of a bind.”

“You sure it don’t make us all packed like them there sardines,” you ask, smirking slightly. You can’t help it, puns are like miniature jokes and you gotta speak at good jokes when you think on them.

Feferi snickers, gasping, “Oh my glub! That is ab-shoal-utely perfect. Packed like sardines. Why didn’t I think of it?”

Feferi giggles and Vantas mutters, “Yes. Amazing. I am so amazed. The funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Fish puns for the win.”

Vantas’s lack of laughter causes you to have earnest desires to make him be laughing at one of your jokes. It causes a fire to spark in you as you feel a playful challenge raised at his lack of mirth. You could near say it’s a matter of honor too, clowns are all meant to tell only them best of jokes that every single motherfucker be laughing at. If you were a comedian like brother Mimica, it would be more a literal matter of honor, but you ain’t a comedian so it’s just a way to be having fun for you.

You’ll figure out what tickles Vantas’s jollities and you will be making him laugh with eventuality. You start at it, beginning with the fact that he ain’t got no fondness for fish puns.

“Any waves,” Feferi says, finally done laughing. “That does sea-m to cause a bit of an issue. I am nervous a-boat wading, but there’s not much I can do if you reel-ly think that is the betta option for the flaysquads.”

“I do think that it would be for the best,” Vantas replies.

Feferi sighs, “I understand. Well glub, that’s a bummer.”

Not for you, but you stay quiet on it, and Vantas shrugs.

You all arrive at the end of the hallway and Feferi pushes a button by a door and says, “Hello there. Is it all still sea eel-ed up in there?”

“Yes Empress,” a voice chirps tensely, “The port is closed, it’s completely safe.”

“Oh good,” Feferi cheers before opening the door.

You walk into a large port where the whole Battleship Consideration is docked.

“Wait,” you say, following Feferi into her ship. “Weren’t the port all full of other smaller ships?”

“There are a few separate ports,” Vantas replies. “This one is specifically for larger ships.”

“Huh,” you mutter. “This motherfucking training compound is huge as fuck kin.”

Vantas scoffs, “Yeah, that’s mostly because so many trolls visit it and work here and what not. We need to have ample space.”

You nod, “Makes all sense.”

Silence falls as you walk for a while, passing by fuchsia wall after fuchsia wall, but as you follow Feferi you turn down a hall, and the walls turn white with gold accents. You are a bit surprised, having only seen fuchsia walls last time you were in this ship. Before you can make comment, that yellow brother from earlier the night before appears from around a corner, enveloped in those red and blue flashing psionics again. He stops slightly when he sees you guys, then he continues and slowly sets down in front of you all.

“Hey FF, KK,” he pauses then says, “Weird clown who’s name I already forgot.”

You turn to Vantas and say, “See I ain’t the only one as forgot a motherfucker’s name.”

Vantas scowls at you and Feferi asks, “Is some-fin wrong Sollux?”

“Not exactly,” he says, grimacing as he continues, “the diplomatrosses are just being. Difficult. And Eridan is having issues with them.”

Feferi sighs loudly, “Oh glub, just what I needed right now.”

Feferi turns to you and Vantas, saying, “I have to go deal with these trolls, do you buoys mind coming along? If you two are there, it might make them stop being such pains in the bass.”

“Not at all,” Vantas says.

“I don’t got a single motherfuckin problem with it sis,” you respond honestly. You figure whatever the issue is being it’ll hopefully stall time for a bit longer.

Feferi nods and turns back to Captor, saying, “Which way are they?”

“This way,” he says, turning and walking back the way he came. You all follow him as he walks down some halls, turning corners and making decisions between going left or right.

Eventually he halts at a turn and looks around, muttering, “Wait, maybe it was the other way.”

“Are we being all lost,” you ask at him.

“No,” he says sharply, “No, it’s fine. I’ll get us there.”

You think you are all being lost and are unamused. Vantas speaks up, “Sollux, if we’re lost, why don’t we turn around and-”

“No,” he repeats, “It’s just this way, I’m sure of it.”

Captor turns down the right hall as Vantas mutters, “He’s going to get us fucking lost because he’s a stubborn goddamn idiot.”

“That’s what all I was thinking,” you mutter back.

Feferi turns and says, “Come on buoys. Give Sollux a chance!”

Feferi then follows after him and you give Vantas a look.

Vantas groans, “Come on, let’s go get lost with the pity-struck idiots.”

Vantas starts walking and you mumble, “Motherfucking yay.”

Though you guess you shouldn’t be all too upset on it. After all, a distraction of any kind is a blessing. You sigh and let go of your aggravation, thanking Messiahs that they be giving you stalling time.

After a few seconds of walking, you decide to pass the time by entertaining these motherfuckers with some jokes. Maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll figure out what kind of jokes Vantas likes. You smirk and ask to no one in particular, “How do you make a cuttlefish laugh?”

Feferi glances back at you, already smiling a bit as she asks, “How?”

“With ten tickles,” you answer.

Feferi snorts and turns back forward as she chortles. Vantas groans faintly beside you, and you think you hear him mutter something all sounding like, “Not this again.”

You brush it off and think for a second. You already be knowing that the gorier jokes ain’t usually appreciated by every motherfucker, and you have to pause to think on jokes what aren’t too dark in hue.

This time you look at Vantas and ask, “What five letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?”

Vantas’s brow furrows as he complains, “That makes no sense. If you’re adding letters, how can any word get shorter?”

You chuckle a bit then say, “The word is ‘short’.”

Vantas groan-growls, slapping a prong on his forehead as he mutters, “Fucking hell.”

“Okay so a grubloaf all walks into a drinking hole,” you say, addressing everyone again.

“Why is food walking,” Vantas mutters, “why.”

You snort and continue on, “the grubloaf all orders some wicked ass elixir, right? But the tapster all says, ‘Sorry motherfucker but we don’t serve food here’.”

Feferi giggles, Captor even scoffs in a manner which almost sounded like a laugh, but Vantas just sighs all long suffering. Well shit, Vantas is a harder nut to crack then you thought.

You go all considering for another minute before asking, “What has thirteen hearts but no other organs?”

“Some kind of grotesquely horrid abomination, I assume,” Vantas mumbles.

“A deck of playing cards,” you answer with a smile.

“Why do we have to endure this,” Vantas grumbles at you with a glare.

“At least it passes the time,” Feferi says cheerfully.

You smile and say, “Yeah it’s just all being a means of having at some fun, kin.”

You see Captor glance at you all briefly before turning back around and asking, “Why the hell is he calling you that Karkat?”

“He feels like it I guess,” Vantas rumbles. “After having clowns near you for so long you get numb to them being psychotic fucking weirdos.”

Feferi snorts, “It’s only been two nights including tonight.”

“Last night was a long night, firstly,” Vantas responds. “Secondly, I have three other faithful purples that I’ve been dealing with for like a sweep or two.”

“I guess that’s true,” Feferi says.

Silence falls for a little bit and you attempt at a slightly darker joke just to see how Vantas reacts, “Okay motherfuckers. What kind of coat is always wet when you put it on?”

“And the torture continues,” Vantas sighs.

Captor makes a noise like he’s uncomfortable and Feferi hums for a long moment before saying, “I don’t know.”

“A coat of paint,” you say.

Feferi scoffs but Vantas says, “Oh my fuck you are completely talking about blood when you say paint, aren’t you?”

You chuckle, a bit nervous as you say, “Maybe I am kin. Might just motherfucking be that I am.”

“Oh glub,” Feferi says, “That’s creepy Gamzee!”

“Yeah, welcome to the most common kind of clown humor,” Vantas flatly says. “Gore, death, blood, and horror. Seriously, the chucklefucks have the darkest senses of humor sometimes.”

Vantas looks at you, grimacing as he asks you, “Have you heard any of Adamel’s jokes?”

“Nah, I haven’t,” you say, intrigued.

“Yeah well,” Vantas says, “if you want to hear some seriously dark jokes, ask him sometime. He’s so fucking cheery about it too, it fucking throws me off, honestly.”

You laugh shortly, “My brother probably does that on purpose to be truthful, but I’ll be keeping that in my pan, kin. I should all hit up them hatchmates for joke swapping. Should be sending invite to Shrila on this as well if it gets to be happening. It’ll surely be the bitch’s tits.”

Vantas grumbles noises and right about then, Captor stops in front of a door, opening it to reveal a completely empty block.

Captor groans, “No, come on. This should be the block they’re in.”

Captor walks in a little bit before he turns to Feferi and says, “I’m sorry FF.”

“It’s okay,” Feferi says walking to stand next to him, “I’ll let Eridan know we’ll be a little whale.”

“You might want to invest in directional signs Feferi,” Vantas states blandly, standing near them both.

Feferi turns to Vantas as you step in the block, all frowning and ready to make reply, when the door all closes behind you. You jump away from it, hearing Vantas shout, “What the fuck?”

Before you can say anything, the very motherfucking floor opens like some kind of hatch and all of you fall with startled shouts. The hatch closes shut above you as Captor shouts, “Fuck, goddamn it!”

Flashing red and blue surrounds all four of you as Captor grunts. Your horns vibrate and your pump biscuit is racing like a motherfucker.

“Well up is not a fucking option,” Captor growls, adding on, “Let’s hope down isn’t too far.”

You grit your teeth, your horns aching as currents seemingly shake through the core of your horns, but this electric field is what be keeping you from falling to death, so you try to all be ignoring at it and certain don’t fight back against it nor attempt to push it away.

Captor hisses, “Could you not fucking do that! I don’t need terrors to distract me right now, asshole.”

“Motherfucker, I ain’t trying to give you no terrors just like you ain’t trying to make electricity ache down in the core of my horns,” you growl back.

“Yeah well, you’re not the one keeping four fucking trolls from falling for fuck knows how long,” Captor snaps. “So get the fuck over it unless you want me to drop you. Since you’re no fucking hatefriend of mine, I have no problem losing an extra body that I need to focus on.”

“Sollux,” Vantas hiss-shrieks with urgency.

You bare your fangs fully as you snarl, “Try me motherfucker. I motherfucking dare you, outsider. You best hope the fall would be killing to me or you’ll be meeting your killing upon your own landing.”

“Gamzee,” Feferi hiss-growls like a warning.

You turn to her and snap your teeth before you hiss at her, “He all but threatened me first, don’t motherfucking pretend like I’m being all the unreasonable motherfucker here. And if either you or he bothered to be listening at what I said, I ain’t even trying to do nothing but endure this pain what is racking through my skullcase, so whatever the motherfuck he be feeling ain’t being something as I can control.”

Captor snarls and Feferi frowns at you. “Okay guys,” Vantas says firm yet gentle, “How about chilling out? Shouting at each other won’t fix anything.”

You pant through your cartilaginous nub, grinding your teeth as no one speaks up for a minute or two.

Eventually Vantas speaks up, asking, “So how the fuck did the door shut?”

“I ain’t got no motherfucking clue, I didn’t touch that motherfucker,” you hiss at him.

Vantas rolls his gander bulbs and growls lightly, not actually being aggressive but just being gruff, “Yes, because I clearly believed that you slammed the door shut for no reason and pretended to be startled enough to jump away from it when it closed.”

You hiss softly, but Vantas ignores you and asks, “Feferi, what the fuck even was that? Why did the floor open up?”

“I’m not shore,” Feferi says with a frown. “If I were to guess, it was a trick block the Empress made. We’ve had to renovate or close off a lot of blocks already because of things like this. I don’t know if it’s been tiresome or just frustrating.”

“Can’t it be both motherfucking things,” you mutter under your breath.

Captor grunts and huffs, asking, “Can anyone see a floor yet?”

“No,” Feferi mumbles, all upset sounding at the saying of it.

Captor groans and Vantas mutters, “Who wants to bet the bottom of this trap has spikes.”

“Karkat,” Feferi says like she’s being all hesitant for reasons unknown to you.

“What,” Vantas nearly snaps, becoming all sudden defensive. “Clearly it was made to be a long enough drop to kill most trolls, but like fuck she would have been satisfied with just that.”

“I all bet four bottles of the wicked elixir that it does got them spikes,” you chip in. “All tall as trees and still stained with the most abstract horror-gore, the likes of which them artistic motherfuckers would be getting their envy on of. Blood-spattered all in that natural mayhem blood gets to doing. It’d be wicked to be seeing.”

“Okay creepy, much darker then I was trying to go, and who the fuck would want your soda that somehow is part of your screwy religion,” Vantas says. “But at least you’re closer to getting it then these pansy jerks.”

“Let’s hope that the floor does not have any spikes,” Captor hisses. “And also, that it isn’t just a dead end.”

After a long uncomfortable pause, Feferi asks, “Uh, so Gamzee, want to tell anymore jokes?”

“Not really in the motherfucking mood for it right now sis,” you reply coldly. But there ain’t being no other way to slice the truth and you ain’t in a mood for appeasing neither.

“So what happens when we set down,” Captor growls with sudden anger and volume. “Are you going to flip out and try to murder us?”

Your brows raise in surprise as Vantas asks, “What the hell, why would you assume that?”

“Why the fuck wouldn’t I,” Captor counters snappishly.

You give Vantas a look and say, “To be all fair, you all were concerned on the same thing when we first got at the training compound.”

“Not helping,” Vantas hisses. “You are literally not helping yourself.”

You scoff and smirk as you all reply, “I am all not concerned. Others make fear at me, true, but that ain’t changing any of them facts I know in me. This here brother can be getting his fear on as much as he like, but that don’t be changing the fact that I ain’t likely to be killing over motherfucking nothing.”

You pause and look at Captor, flashing your teeth at him as you say, “I got me more motherfucking control than that. It’s a motherfuckin shame that you ain’t all likely to be getting your heathen pissblood ass to view at my rage.”

“Don’t fucking use that term,” Feferi snarls sharply.

You look at her, tilting your nugbone slightly as you say, “I ain’t the one anywhere near quadrants with you, let alone the diamond one as you already got all filled, so try and motherfuckin make me.”

“Seriously,” Vantas interjects, “How about we focus on getting out of here, instead of, I don’t know, yelling at each other? Honestly, that would be genuinely nice. I don’t know about you primordial ooze-like mucous organisms, but I’m not particularly enthused by the idea of rotting in a hole.”

“KK, you were literally just talking about the hole having spikes at the bottom of it,” Captor grumbles with a frown. “That doesn’t particularly sound like a shining ray of optimism.”

“Yes,” Vantas shouts, “hello, I’m Karkat Vantas and I’m the number one contender for douche-canoe of the sweep, no scratch that, douche-canoe of the next fucking eon! I am the excretory equivalent of the entire universe’s literal shit, I am so exponentially shitty that I am the rage dump the universe took when I was hatched. Therefore, for my tremendous and incredibly magnificent shittiness, the universe constantly shits on me like I’m it’s personal goddamn load gaper. I am so shitty I am the universe’s load gaper, okay? The universe has continuously dumped its enormous defecations right on my fucking lap, warm fresh disgusting piles of shit which I simply have to deal with. From the moment of my very creation, these eliminations have been freshly served straight on top of me, with no hope of me ever evacuating myself from them. Which is why I’m so endlessly and expectantly ready and fucking willing to flip all my shit, every goddamn where, in feeble hopes that some night I may see something aside from the all-encompassing mound of shit that has been dumped on me. But you know fucking what? I deal with it! I have painstakingly carved that mound of shit into something that remotely resembles the falsehood of normalcy. So excuse fucking me if I’m a pessimistic bitch, but fuck you, I am entitled to that pessimism given my lifelong trial of constantly being force-fed literal crap on top of shitty reasoning and hoofbeastmanure excuses.”

Before you can process that, Vantas takes a large breath of air and continues, “Seriously though, you fucktard, we’ve been hatefriends for how fucking long? And you somehow think my pessimism is a novel thing? You should be beyond used to my brand of cynicism, no, you should be beyond fucking sick of it by now. That and a little thing called goddamn sarcasm. I am consistently a pessimistic and sarcastic piece of shit, so if you think for a second that anything has changed, you are an absolute idiot!”

“Wow okay,” Captor says, “the next thing to ensure full grubhood memories are relived is for you to awkwardly ask if we’re still hatefriends.”

Vantas flips Captor off with both his prongs and hisses, “Go suck an egg.”

Captor snorts, then laughs ‘ehehe’, sounding all brands eerily like his ancestor. You are kind of still trying to mentally process Vantas’s tirade because it sounded kind of bad, you think. Like, is it all being normal for a motherfucker to go at calling themselves the universe’s load gaper and all them other things about being shit or something? Because you ain’t thinking it is.

“Seriously though,” Vantas says at normal volume.

“Yes, we’re still hatefriends,” Captor replies with a smirk.

“Fuck you,” Vantas snaps, face faintly red, “That’s not what I was going to ask.”

“Yeah, sure,” Captor says, rolling his gander bulbs.

Vantas growls as he forces out all calm and slow, “Will all of you stop trying to argue and focus on getting out?”

“Depends,” Captor says stiffly. Jerking his nugbone towards you and saying, “If he starts attacking or anything, I’m not going to hold back.”

Vantas growl-sighs, looking at you and asking, “You won’t kill or attack any of us, right?”

“Nah,” you say easily.

“Good,” Vantas states, turning back to Captor and saying, “There, problem solved. Now drop your bad attitude.”

“You seriously trust the fucking clown,” Captor asks all flatly. In honesty, you are being surprised too.

“Dude,” Vantas says, “If he wanted to kill someone he would have done it forever ago.”

Captor scowls for a moment before muttering, “That doesn’t really help his case, but fine, whatever. I’ll drop it for now.”

“Thank you,” Vantas says. Then he turns slightly and asks, “Feferi?”

Feferi tilts her nugbone and asks, “Yes?”

“Are you willing to cooperate,” Vantas asks hesitantly.

Feferi giggles and says, “Shore! I’m not too worried a-boat it honestly. Yeah, I am mad a-boat the rude way he insulted my matesprit, but I suppose I cod let that go until we are out of this current situation.”

“That’s good, I think,” Vantas mutters.

Vantas sighs exuberantly, pausing to look down, before he says, “Holy shit, there’s the floor!”

“Thank fuck,” Captor grumbles.

“That’s wonderful,” Feferi chirps.

“Motherfucking miracles,” you state with a sigh of relief. Your motherfucking horns are in so much pain they are numb with it.

Captor quickens the decent to the floor since even as you see it, it’s still a while away, asking, “There are no spikes though, right? KK made me nervous.”

“I don’t sea any,” Feferi says. “But I’m not shore.”

“Hold up let me,” Vantas mutters. After a second, he pulls a book out of his sylladex.

“KK, now is not the time to be reading your trashy romance novels,” Captor rolls his gander bulbs.

“Fuck off,” Vantas snaps, “I’m trying to see if there’s some kind of trigger on the floor that will cause spikes to come out.”

“And you’re doing it with a book,” Captor asks.

“Do you have a better idea,” Vantas hisses, “No, I didn’t think so.”

You all stop moving and Vantas lets go of the book and it falls to the floor, but nothing happens. Everyone is quiet for a moment before Captor asks, “Okay but what if the trigger is somewhere else on the floor?”

“Yes, complaining is so helpful.” Vantas growls, “If you’re not going to offer a solution, how about you shut the fuck up?”

You hum and look through your sylladex for something that might help.

“Holy shiting bulge,” Vantas hisses, “What is this seizure inducing hoofbeastmanure? “

“Uh,” you say, “My ‘dex. Trying to find a thing what might be all helpful and shit.”

“It’s going to give me an aneurism,” Vantas complains, arm over his gander bulbs as he squints in your direction, “put it the fuck away.”

“Aw but kin, I’m just all trying to be at helpful,” you mutter.

Vantas bites his lip, making a long ‘f’ sound before finally saying, “Fine, just hurry.”

“Aight random ejection it all will be then,” you say.

“Wait no,” Vantas says as you randomly reach both prongs for two separate cards.

The first thing you notice falling is a fuck ton of motherfucking horns. After the honking cacophony, which was a bitch tits symphony if any motherfucker asks at you, you look at the floor and see that your one-wheel device is also on the floor. Vantas takes in an audible deep breath and holds it for a few seconds before letting it out.

“Okay, that worked, I guess. Your annoying honk horns did not meet a spiky demise to my personal misfortune, so I suppose I can also assume we are safe too,” Vantas states.

You chuckle and say, “Glad to be helpful.”

“I kind of want to strangle you with your own goddamn horns,” Vantas hisses, “But yeah, you helped, so thanks or whatever.”

You snort and say, “How would you even be strangling me with my horns?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care,” Vantas snaps.

“Alright,” Captor says in a slow hesitant manner before he begins to lower you all again.

Conversation trails off after that as all of you float down. Soon enough though, you all have strut pods on solid ground. The electrical field disappears immediately after and you groan, clutching at your nugbone as your horns and pan all being aching and pounding.

“Motherfuck,” you hiss under your breath before starting to gather your horns up into a pile.

“Right, okay,” Vantas says, taking that commanding tone you’re familiar on, “There’s a door, so let’s get moving.”

Captor asks, “Do you even know where we’re going?”

“Not a fucking clue,” Vantas replies. “But it’s better then. What the fuck are you doing, why are you making a pile.”

You blink, halting to look up at him and say, “Easier to put back in my ‘dex that way kin.”

“Right whatever, I shouldn’t have asked,” Vantas mutters, pinching the bridge of his cartilaginous nub and waving his prong dismissively, “Try to hurry please.”

You scoff, turning back to what you were doing as you say, “It’ll take the time it takes, no more and no less.”

“You’re insufferable and infuriating,” Vantas hisses under his breath. Then he speaks louder, “What was I saying? Oh yeah, it’s better to at least try to get somewhere. No one will find us here, especially considering we have no idea where here is. Feferi, have you let Eridan know what’s going on yet?”

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Feferi says, pulling out what she all calls a ‘shellphone’. You find Vantas’s book under a few horns and the picture on the cover honest makes your face heat up. You uh, you just pretend you didn’t see that picture and kind of, stash it in your ‘dex temporarily as you go about your own business.

“Okay, so Eridan’s going to know we’re lost, but we don’t want anyone else to get lost, so we should try to find somewhere we recognize and then stay there, so when Eridan and whoever come looking, they know where to look,” Vantas explains. You figure that sounds all manners reasonable and smart.

Captor groans, “I hate when you do this logical tactical reasoning shit.”

You think you got all them motherfucking horns, so you stash them in a card. When you pick up your one-wheel device up to all stash it, you see a horn all got caught under it. You store the one-wheel device back in your ‘dex and pick up the horn, seeing it’s still all unbroken, shrugging your shoulders all at yourself and putting it in your pants pocket. Though not the one with that special stardust in it, of course. Before you go back though, you all remember Vantas complaining about your ‘dex, so you pull his book out by reaching out at it before you go over. Still ignoring that picture though, motherfuck.

You walk over to the others and all say, “Aight kin, I’m all done collecting my shit.”

“Great,” Vantas says, sounding all pleased yet surprised.

You offer Vantas his book and say, “Grabbed this for you too.”

His face goes bright red and he snatches it quickly, storing it in his ‘dex just as fast.

“Yeah well,” he says, voice a bit tight with what you’re certain is embarrassment. He mutters something under his breath, a quiet, “Thank you.”

He turns on his heel and marches away from you, barking out, “Let’s march.”

Feferi scoffs and remarks, “We’re not your troops crabcatch.”

“It’s a habit,” he replies in a grumble as he opens the door and walks out it. You follow close behind him, feel all a bit dazed for reasons as you can’t quite place. Captor and Feferi are all being close behind as well, as you all be walking through halls of that flat fuchsia color.

There ain’t no doors in sight as you all walk, and it ain’t long before Captor pipes up, “We’re going to get lost.”

“Oh,” Vantas snaps, “Now we’re going to get lost? Not however long ago when you thought you might have taken a wrong turn? Only now, after we are already lost?”

Captor grumbles under his breath, not speaking as much as you can tell, more just voicing his displeasure.

Vantas seems to ignore the motherfuck out of it either way and says, “I already explained this, Sollux, come on.”

The halls you be walking down only have one way to be turning at the end of them it seems, and you still can’t see no motherfucking doors.

Sollux speaks up again, muttering, “I thought you were trying to change the colors on this ship Feferi.”

“Yes, I am,” Feferi replies, “But you and I both know this ship is, well, titanic. I’ve never even sea-n this place before.”

Captor once again grumbles unhappily, and you all barely catch Feferi whispering, “Maybe you should glub at Aradia to pass the time?”

Captor huffs, and once again silence falls in your group. You walk and walk, for a long ass motherfucking time, you walk and turn corners. Unendingly, you walk and turn corners, turn corners and walk, still not a door or nothing in sight, you walk and turn another corner. You feel like you’re losing your sensing on which motherfucking way is all the way back. But you do know which way it is. Just turn the fuck around, it ain’t like there have been any multiple directions which to turn in. Yet you still be filled with doubts. Could you have somehow missed a turn? Or a door, passage, or other exit what was all being hidden? Are you all just going in them circles? Are you lost in some dead-end maze?

You shake your nugbone to try to right your sense of knowing and shake them doubts. It doesn’t work, but you follow Vantas and all ignore that. But what you don’t be ignoring to notice is that Vantas is tense. His prongs all fisted and shoulders tight as he marches. Shit, is there being some shit as the Empress of old set up to fuck with those as aren’t her blood? How the fuck would she be doing that? She was known for being a right motherfucking powerhouse, especially with them psionics, but her being all dead should mean that would all be the end of it, right?

“Okay,” Captor says, “what the fuck is going on? Please tell me I’m not the only one feeling this.”

You all ask, “That confusion all making it seem as if we somehow went all the wrong way even as our pans all be logical knowing that ain’t being possible? ‘Cause that’s what this here motherfucker be feeling.”

“Yeah,” Captor says hesitantly, “That and a few other things.”

You blink and frown, about to ask what the fuck them ‘other things’ are being when he says, “I assume it’s affecting you too KK. Maybe we should turn back.”

“No.” Vantas continues walking all purposeful, but you notice that he all stiffens up in his shoulders some more as he snarls, “I am fucking fine, he is fucking insane, and you are receptive to weird shit. We keep moving.”

Vantas is lying for all you can be telling at such a thing, and you be thinking he’s lying on him all being motherfucking fine. Partly all because you can agree to the statement of you being insane, and because you ain’t knowing Captor enough to know if he does got receptiveness to weird shit.

Captor frowns and sighs, “Whatever you say KK. I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“I do, okay,” Vantas snaps harshly.

Silence is all a discomfort, tense and heavy, as you all continue to walk on. The halls and turns blend together, same unending scene, everything looking all the same without a single motherfucking change. You ain’t so much thinking on how confusing this is all being anymore, you are all living in a continuous moment of walking without thinking on which way is right or wrong. Just endless walking.

The walls almost seem to move at one point and you halt in shock. Captor nearly walks into you and asks, “What the fuck?”

The wall is motherfucking breathing, don’t he be seeing that?

“Makara keep fucking walking,” Vantas shouts and you shake your nugbone, blinking rapidly.

The wall is still.

“Fuck,” you mutter. You shake your nugbone again, prong against your temple as you walk forward, mumbling, “Sorry. Motherfuck.”

“Just keep walking no matter what you guys,” Vantas says firmly.

You all keep walking, the walls now all being living breathing flesh on occasion, but you ignore and simply follow Vantas. You can all feel Captor sparking like he’s about to be fighting, see Vantas’s prong twitching like he’s all but a hair away from drawing his sickle, and that’s when you all realize your own strife deck is all prepared to be pulled from. You glance back to check on Feferi, but she seems unaffected, in fact she seems to be all bored.

You look forward and panic for a second ‘cause Vantas has disappeared, but then you notice that he just all turned the next corner while you were looking away. After noticing Vantas quickly marching down the hall, the next thing you all take note on is that there’s a motherfucking door.

“Praise be to the Messiahs,” you shout, “Looks like an exit!”

You hurry down the hall, and while Vantas has some noticeable distance on you, you got them long ass fronds what he doesn’t quite got. Still though, Vantas does reach the door first, pulling it open with a seemingly frantic tug. He walks into the next block and you follow short behind. You look around, pan still making the walls all look like living flesh, puddles of what your cartilaginous nub be telling you is salt water are all on the floor. There’s an enormous gold and fuchsia throne at the back of the block, the fuchsia there all temporarily looking to be living flesh as well, and you wonder if this all was the old Empress’s throne block. While looking around and trying to be finding the exit what isn’t the one you just came out of, you once again notice Vantas. He’s taking small panicked breaths, looking around the block urgently. His sickle is even being all tight gripped in his prong. While he searches the block all frantic, you catch sight of his gander bulbs and you instant know that shit is about to go fucking wrong-ways quick like. His gander bulbs be motherfucking huge, all black where there should be motherfucking red, and they are all yellow still, but you know a motherfucker about to flip the fuck out.

You ain’t sure if it’s in rage or fear, but you know them symptoms. You’ve been there, for yourself and your family, you’ve been there.

You all go step towards him, and that’s when you hear Feferi say, “We’re in the throne block.”

Vantas freezes in place, which makes you think his flip out is leaning on fear, not rage. Rage would have caused him to all go at attacking her, you think.

Guileless or unknowing, Feferi steps towards Karkat all out of his sight. You frantically try to wave at her in warning, and she pauses to all frown at you in confusion. You feel relief for a moment, before Karkat spins around, loud snarl on his lips and gander bulbs now seeming a tad orange. When he sees Feferi however, he goes rigid and he drops his sickle, his face draining of color.

He takes a few shaky steps back before losing his balance or something, falling back on his ass. Vantas stares up at Feferi, gander bulbs still wide, dismay fluid running down his still pale face. Feferi takes a few steps backwards, putting up her hands up passively and shaking her nugbone, muttering, “Oh no, no, oh glub, no, glub no.”

“Shit,” Sollux hisses, tapping on what seems to be a ‘shellphone’ without the shell hurriedly.

You hurry over to Vantas, instinct and knowledge of helping motherfuckers out of this the only thing on your pan, your pump biscuit tight with nerves. You kneel in front of him, far enough away to give him space, but close enough that he should be able to see you. He don’t move or twitch or nothing, just keeps staring in the direction of Feferi with dismay fluid running down his face. He breathes in small gasps what will be causing him to pass out if you can’t be getting him to breathe right, but for that to be happening he all needs to be realizing you are even here in the first place.

“Kin,” you say, but that gets you nothing. Well shit, motherfuck. You keep trying until you get response out of him, “Bro. Brother. Martinet? Vantas. Karkat.”

His gander bulbs dart to your face quickly, then back away. Okay, that was a response, sweet, roll with it.

“Karkat,” you say again, sitting down all the way and showing your empty prongs. “Hey Karkat, please try your best to listen, alright? I am all just here trying to help you, okay? I won’t do anything unless I got your say so. Just try to breathe, okay Karkat?”

You pause, thinking on how he dropped his sickle, before saying, “Come on, you got this Karkat, breathe in deep and slow. Stay with me Karkat. I’m going to put my weapons all up by yours, okay? That way you know neither of us are armed.”

You hear him take in a stuttering, but deep, breath. “Exhale slow too, all right,” you request gently as you scoot back, and he does so. You smile and encourage him, “you’re doing great Karkat, keep it going. Deep and slow, you got it Karkat.”

You can tell Karkat is all watching you right now, which you figure is good. You take out your clubs slowly and carefully set them down on the floor by Karkat’s sickle, ignoring the discomfort of doing so.

You scoot back within distance of him again. Karkat begins to breathe more regularly and you keep speaking to him, “Alright Karkat. You’re doing motherfucking great Karkat. I want you to try to stay with me, okay Karkat?”

Karkat’s gander bulbs drift down, skirting around and away from your face, and you frown, uncertain on if that’s better than before. Either way, he is messed up harsh right now and that all is making your chest and lungs squeeze painfully.

“Karkat,” you say, “You don’t have to stay here. Do you want to leave this block?”

Karkat looks up at you before quickly trailing his gaze off to the side. You open your talk blaster to try to keep him engaged, but he all surprises you by saying, “Yes.”

“Okay,” you say, “No problem. Think you can stand on your own?”

Karkat breathes that measured and deep way, as you suggested he should, for a while before he finally speaks, “No.”

“Okay,” you say, “That’s all fine. Keep on letting me know what you need Karkat. What can I do to help?”

Karkat seems to pause and think, flexing his fingers and toes for a while before asking, “Offer me your shoulder?”

“Certainly,” you say. “So, I’m gonna all be scooting closer towards you now.”

You slowly scoot near him before offering your shoulder to him. He seems to hesitate before putting his arm around your shoulders and neck. “Tell me when you’re ready to try to be standing,” you say.

“Go slow,” he says.

“I will,” you reply, standing slowly, and letting yourself all be slouching so your shoulders are at the right height for Karkat, ignoring the discomfort of it. You ain’t wanting to leave your weapons or Karkat’s, so you all ask, “You want to be getting your weapon before we leave?”

He tenses for some strange reason you don’t understand and doesn’t reply for a long moment.

“Alright,” you say when it seems he ain’t likely to reply, “how about some other solution. I could all go at grabbing it for you.”

He locks up even more, and at least you understand that tenseness. Motherfuck, this shit is all twisting painful inside your thorax and pan, and you wish you understood more than motherfucking jack fucking shit of what was going on right now.

“You can grab my clubs,” you finish in a rush, feeling anxious about it.

Karkat doesn’t reply, so you babble, “Ain’t like some faithful offers to let motherfucking anyone touch their righteous weapons. I’m all trusting you with them Karkat, so trust me with your sickle. I’m just going to put it in my sylladex.”

There’s a moment of anxiety for you as you wait for Karkat to say something. It really ain’t like you’d let any motherfucker touch your clubs, and in truth the only reason you’re letting Karkat hold onto them is ‘cause you ain’t about to be leaving them here. Karkat grunts ambiguously and you hope that means he’ll grab them. You ain’t know what you’ll do if he doesn’t.

You walk over to where your weapons are all being, and then you say tightly, “Okay Karkat. Weapon getting time.”

You carefully crouch and bend over, grabbing Karkat’s sickle. You put it in your sylladex, careful as it doesn’t get sucked into your strife deck, muttering, “See, all nice and cozy in the flashing bright miracle modus you were hating so much a spec ago. It’s all just in my ‘dex kin.”

You try to keep calm, knowing that will be the only way what you can be helpful towards Karkat right now, but you feel as if you’re all rambling words with no sense and Karkat is motherfucking empty of words for once. Your pump biscuit is thumping weird and painful and at that thought.

“Have your clubs,” Karkat says softly.

You feel some pressure release in your thorax and say, “Thanks. Appreciate that more than you get knowing onto. Now let’s all get out of here, yeah?”

“Yes,” Karkat replies.

You slowly stand with Karkat again, and when you are all standing again, Captor says, “Wait just a second!”

“Brother, I’ve dealt with trolls having issues like this many a time before in the family,” you say, “I be knowing at what all needs to be done. Right now, Karkat says he wants out of this block and I’m helping him out of this block.”

You look around and spot a door, one aside from the other you all just walked in from, and you start walking towards it. Karkat is all trying to walk with you, but he ain’t able to manage it and that is kind of pitiful.

“So, how far you want to be from this block,” you ask, trying to keep Karkat engaged in here and now.

Karkat doesn’t reply as you both all meander over to the door. You open it and walk out of the block, going on and rambling at Karkat, “Don’t want to all go and get more lost, that’s for certain, and I all figure you shouldn’t be left alone to the shit as is fucking with your pan right now. I do all personal know what it’s like when your pan all twists and bends the true reality and makes it all seeming like less of a thing what’s easy to be knowing as true. Though I honest ain’t certain if that’s the variety as is messing with you right now, all I be knowing is that one motherfucking way or another, it always be helping to speak at some motherfucker to keep you at in a reality all untwisted.”

The hall you’re in is fuchsia again, but this time you see a door close by and ask Karkat, “You wanna go in that there block and be seeing if there’s shit as for you to be sitting on?”

“Sure,” Karkat says.

“Sweet,” you reply as you walk towards the door. “So, I’m all gonna go on and continue speaking at you. May all end up being nonsense, but at least it’ll be some shit as should hopefully be keeping you all engaged and that motherfucking good shit. This talking shit is hard though Karkat, how’s you get to having them words so well at the ready at any motherfucking moment? Mine’s always going up and being trapped and playing hide-and-seek or some other shit in my pan. Them words are all whimsy filled or something, I be guessing, for they come out all at their own tempo and accord with only little input of forethought from my pan on most occasions. It’s being all like. Well it’s like this shit I’m speaking right current. I ain’t even knowing what the fuck I be saying anymore truthfully.”

You all are at the door now, so you open it and see it’s all full of chairs and not much else.

“At least there’s somewhere to sit,” Karkat mutters.

You nod and walk over to the closest chair, slowly and carefully letting him sit. Once he’s seated, you back off, standing in front of him and asking, “Anything else as I can do for you Karkat?”

“Close the door,” he says. He pauses though, biting his lip, then asking, “Stay?”

Before you can reply, Karkat groans and puts his nugbone in his prongs, muttering, “Don’t take that the wrong way. Just, fuck, never mind.”

“It’s all right,” you say, turning around and closing the door. You turn back towards Karkat with a smile, grabbing a chair and dragging it near you before sitting on it. “Like I all said, I done dealt with shit as is similar to this. Both personal and occurrences with the family, so I know it ain’t no good for you to be alone right fucking now. I ain’t gonna be no pervert Karkat, I all just saw someone flipping out and did what I knew had all to be done, and I surely done did it in all manners platonic. A motherfucker wouldn’t be trying to hit on you while you were all up in pan space what is unkind.”

You pause, face flushing as you realize that you may have accidentally said shit weird, and you all chirp with flustered embarrassment as you go on, “Fuck, there all goes my words twisting strange and unintended again. You’d all be thinking a motherfucker learns after sixteen sweeps how to be speaking in manners clearer, or at least to shut his goddamn talk blaster before he all goes and shoves a strut pod in it, but apparently, he all don’t. This motherfucker ain’t being hitting on you at all, is what all I meant to say, if there was unclarity in my last utterance.”

Karkat smirks slight but you can tell there ain’t no strength behind it, “It’s fine.”

“Right,” you mutter, face still warm. “But uh, we all should still speak, so as your pan gets beyond whatever the fuck just done happened.”

You pause to think before saying, “Oh, how about something what involves them romantic novels you all got to be liking?”

“How about,” Karkat says, face going red, “We never mention that novel ever again.”

“Uh, okay,” you say, frowning a bit. Shit, it’s better to speak on things what he likes to keep him all with the real reality, and you ain’t knowing motherfucking shit about his interests. Should you all ask?

“I,” Karkat speaks up, “If you insist talking will help, I guess I wouldn’t mind talking about a new TV show I like.”

“Oh sweet,” you smile, “I all up and got my sponge clots open for hearing at you.”

Chapter Text

Karkat surely did not hold back on speaking when all on the topic of quadrants, that was a thing you quick learned for motherfuckin certain. He went on and on about them for a time longer then you even thought possible. You may not all be the brightest in the galaxy on most topics, but you had always figured you had enough motherfucking knowledge on them quadrants to have filled squares if you motherfucking wanted to get to be having that sort of thing, or had any which upon you felt an inclination to at least try. That all up and said, when Karkat started talking in fine detail about this motherfucking show with the main paring as are all getting red and black vacillation on, you are almost being near to wondering if you really do motherfucking understand quadrants at all.

Well, either way he all talked for a long time with little to no need upon you to keep the talking going, and you listened best you could, even occasionally asking when what shit he spoke on was unclear. He went and rolled his gander bulbs and sighed when you asked, but he did go explaining, and by now you already done forgot all them names of the characters as he went spewing at you earlier, but you remember all the quadrant stuff which he spoke on as if it were being all the most important part, so you all figure you weren’t half bad in listening.

He was being speaking on how the main pair’s vacillation is all being a rouse because they are motherfucking dumb asses what don’t see how they are obvious meant to be at ashen with the main character’s current moirail as the middle leaf. He said the main pair already be trying to drag the main character’s moirail into mediating on a frequency not uncommon or unnoticed, how they all are basically begging the current moirail to be the middle leaf of the main pair. Which he supports full because he says too often shows ain’t making ashen nor pale pairs into the main pairing, which he all thinks is dumb as all fuck because conciliatory pairs should all be getting the same amount of shows as concupiscent pairs. He said ashen got the least visibility out of all the quadrants and seemed all upset about it as he said such. He spoke on at how the main character having red flings with their highblood boss is being all kinds of ‘inanely insipid crowd-pleasing caste mongering drivel’. He also all said the main character is hiding a deep-buried red longing for their ex-kismesis, all the meanwhile, their fellow coworker is showing blatant black interest and the both be starting to develop a very good rivalry by comparing labor intensity and accomplishments. Which Karkat made note that it could all be part the reason the main character all has them red flings with the boss, so they can all be bragging about how much the boss likes them so much. Karkat also said this is more proof at the main pair not really being meant for red or black. Karkat is all worried on that the main character needs a moirail true, but there don’t seem to be no one who goes and foils the main character’s personality in pale ways. Karkat all says the main character be needing a moirail what will help them sort out all this quadrant confusion like the current moirail all doesn’t do. Which Karkat cited as more proof that they ain’t moirails for nothing but familiarity, and that it’s all apparent that they ain’t fit to be pale because they don’t rightly balance each other out, but it’s also the hell obvious that concupiscent ain’t a thing either of them want to or should be getting near.

Which Karkat went on to all speculate is being because the moirails were all flushed red in times before, but the show just ain’t up and willing to admit it straightforward because, as he be saying at you right now, “The media is a missile driven paroxysmal pupa, stubbornly unwilling to admit that life isn’t always perfect serendipity like they want you to believe when it comes to quadrants. The basic fucking fact is that sometimes moirails are concupiscent partners at first before realizing that they have paler feelings for one another and that’s perfectly fucking okay! I mean for shit’s sake, if you’re trying to display the pale quadrant as some perfect zone of never touching intimate bits with each other ever in the future or the past, you’re invalidating every young troll who floundered through quadrants for six to eight sweeps. Or even longer, seriously do you even know how many quadrant shifts I’ve had to deal with within this shithive maggots army in just these last few sweeps?”

You snort and gotta be motherfucking admitting, you got confused in all that shit he was speaking on. Especially when he went even further in detail about how the show be handling the red-black vacillating pair in conjunction with the current moirail giving mediation and the red flings with the main character’s boss. Shit got confusing quick right about there about. Though talking all made him feel better and stay in the moment, just like you all knew it would, and you figure you ain’t got no problem being confused on them finer details of a show you ain’t never heard at before now and honest don’t particularly care a shit about. Though with all the details he told at you from naught but memorization, you wonder if Karkat would all be good at naming movies.

“How much were you even listening,” Karkat asks, bringing you out of your own motherfucking thoughts as had wrapped up your attention.

“Ah, all of it,” you say, “Just spaced out after the bit where you all asked at me if I knew at how many motherfuckers switched quadrants in the last sweep or two.”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and sighs, pausing to look at you. After a moment, he all says, “Thank you. I don’t know what the fuck this is, but I appreciate you helping me when I needed it.”

“What you be meaning what this all is? It was all just me being at helpful to you,” you say, tilting your nugbone in confusion.

“Yeah that’s confusing to me,” Karkat says. “I remember you said something about dealing with things like, well, what just happened to me. You had said that you dealt with it within the family, so you knew what to do to be of help, but I’m not your fucking family. Why would you help me?”

You frown, “Why all wouldn’t I? I also be knowing what things similar feel like on personal basis and no motherfucker be deserving to go through it unaided.”

“Okay,” Karkat says, frowning slightly. “Usually trolls wouldn’t help out though. Maybe it’s a faithful thing, I don’t know.”

“Family is all willing to being helping any other faithful they be seeing,” you say. “But it ain’t being like that with this. It’s more like.”

You pause and think it over, scratching at the back of your skull and frowning thoughtful. As you think at it, you all be noting that it ain’t feeling like what platonic chatting friend thing you did with Feferi. It feels. Different.

You never truly cared about speaking or chilling with Feferi, you could all take it or leave it in truth, and you certain ain’t got too much respect at her. She be the strongest troll due all to her blood, and she is even frightening when she all wants to be that way, and sure she is the motherfucking Empress, so you should be all courteous near her for fear of what all she has potential to do if her ire is brought up. But despite that, she ain’t hardly truly earned the title of Empress. She got the blood and killed the last, but that’s all what she got going for her as far as earning that place, far as you can tell. Plus, she is all disrespectful to what don’t all be to her benefit, and that is looked down on in church. If you can’t be giving respect, you don’t deserve it yourself. Then all add on to that the fact that she be a motherfucking fish. Since all purples are being raised near large bodies of water, they must be fending off sea dwellers often throughout grubhood, and tend to all have animosity at them fish due to that. Even you all got told by your lusus what danger sea dwellers were being. Just about motherfucking everything about that is being different from here and now.

With Karkat, you want to speak at him and hang out friendly, and you want both of you speaking at each other with the respect you both be deserving. You all have stray thought that maybe you even want to try trusting him, but you brush that thought off as being more part of what situation you are ultimately being in with the family all in danger and such.

You huff and look up to Karkat, half asking, “Mutual respect friends?”

Karkat blinks at you, then says, “You literally just made something up. Fuck, whatever, nothing you say ever makes any goddamn sense and I really shouldn’t have expected this to be any different.”

Karkat takes a deep breath, closing his gander bulbs briefly before looking at you seemingly harshly as he says, “I have no idea what the fuck ‘mutual respect friends’ entails, so let’s set some fucking boundaries. Some lines which neither of us can cross.”

“Like all what,” you ask, blinking.

“Well, like, fuck,” Karkat throws up his arms, “How about the fact that this is platonic, and we need to fucking keep it that way until we find out some term for this that actually makes a little bit of sense, is that alright?”

“Yeah,” you shrug, “It’s aight with me.”

Vantas flatly glare at you like you a dumb motherfucker as he asks at you, “Any other suggestions, imbecile?”

You pause and start trying to think at any, but then there’s a noise and Karkat frowns, muttering, “Hold that thought for a second.”

Karkat pulls something out of his 'dex and taps on another one of them weird shellphone things without a shell.

“Well fuck,” he says, “How long have we been in here? Everyone has been bothering me nonstop, how the fuck did I just now notice?”

You blink and watch him tap on his strange device as he looks up, “Looks like Feferi and Sollux already got back, and Feferi made the diplomatrosses stop being globechafing annoyances.”

“Huh,” you reply. Then you all ask, “Did that there miracle device go tell that at you?”

Karkat squints at you for a moment, holding up the device and asking, “You mean my cellphone?”

“Cellphone,” you repeat, unfamiliar with that term.

“Holy shit, you don’t have one,” Vantas asks. “It’s basically a pronghold husktop? And a lot of other things.”

“Nah. Got me a regular husktop though,” you pause and frown, muttering with uncertainty, “Or I used to? Shit I wonder if I ever did bring that when I went to church. Can’t make recall at that.”

“Even if you did still have it, it’s old as fuck so it probably no longer works,” Vantas states.

“Shit my brother, I don’t know, it could still be up and working. You know them motherfucking husktops,” you say, smiling, “it’s all being like, what the fuck, how they be working in the first place? Miracles is being all the motherfucking answer kin.”

Karkat takes in a breath of air through his teeth and breathes out slow, “You just gave me a rage aneurism, I hope you are motherfucking happy.”

You chuckle and Karkat groans, snapping, “You are getting a goddamn phone, Makara. If for no other reason than to stay in contact with everyone. Shit, how have you even been keeping in contact with the church while away? Never mind, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know.”

Well shit, if you had known that these motherfucking phones could be keeping you in contact with family, you would have had one forever ago. For now, though, you simply accept Karkat being all kind towards you.

“Thanks kin, I would appreciate it,” you reply passively.

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and says, “Yeah well, let’s get going you clown doofus. Feferi says she no longer needs us right now, so we’re free to go back to the training compound.”

Karkat starts walking towards the door and you ask, “Won’t we be getting lost if we go anywhere unaided?”

“No, not this time,” Karkat says quietly. “I know the way back from where we just were.”

You blink and frown, confused once again, but you see at Karkat’s tenseness and let it go, saying, “Aight. Lead the way then.”

Karkat grunts and walks out the door, and all once again, you are following Karkat through fuchsia halls, but this time there ain’t no confusion or breathing walls though, and you wonder just what all the motherfuck that was.

Karkat distracts you from thinking on it though, by all asking, “So, about that thing you mentioned earlier. You said you could try to speak to the faithful?”

You pause before answering, “Yeah. An all-important event be happening soon, all as are faithful will certain show there beyond doubt. So, whoever done that shit should honest be retreating in a sense soon here, I praise Messiahs in the luck of the timing with that. So, all the family will be there, and it surely would be the best time to be speaking at them.”

“Well, since you mentioned they should be retreating, that would explain a few reports from the other generals I was informed of this evening,” Karkat says. “I was meaning to ask you about that, but mystery solved I guess. When is this event?”

“Uh, well,” you start, pausing to scratch at the back of your neck.

“For the love of,” Karkat starts, near shouting the last bit, “Please do not fucking tell me that it is tomorrow, I will flip the fuck out.”

“No, no,” you say quickly. Then you hesitantly add on, “Not technically.”

“Oh my fuck,” Karkat whispers with exasperation.

“See, the thing is all being,” you say, quick to try to explain yourself. “The new faithful are all learning and shit right now, right? So, their initiations ain’t until like a week or so after conscription.”

“But,” Karkat supplements.

“But,” you announce slowly and carefully. “I all wanted to make it so Shrila could be initiated as well. For that, he all needs to be there and prove he is all trustworthy to some older church members, but he also should still be learning at what those others be learning. So, it’s all for his best interest that he gets to prove himself and start learning. So that way, his induction is all being proper, you feel me?”

Karkat doesn’t reply for a moment and you are concerned until he says, “Yeah. I understand.”

Karkat looks back at you and says, “And whatever he needs to do to prove himself won’t be something stupidly insane, right?”

“Nah,” you say, smiling softly, “it won’t be no huge task and nothing what ain’t expected for any other faithful. Family all protects each other kin.”

Karkat sighs and looks forward, saying, “Alright. My other faithful would need to be there anyway, so I guess we could all make a trip there.”

You hesitate before saying, “Well, unfaithful ain’t really supposed to know the location of the church. They can come on occasion rare, but they ain’t meant to know where it is. We clowns all went through many motherfuckers betraying us and so such things are family secrets now.”

“So, what then,” Karkat asks. “You, the other purples, and Shrila all disappear for fuck knows exactly how long?”

You hum, “I ain’t minding that honestly. Though I know you have displeasure for it. Don’t know what can be done about it though honestly.”

You pause before asking, “I think I could all be using one of them phone motherfuckers though. Should get in contact with the family so they be knowing what shit is going down with Shrila all proving himself. And it might all be possible as to be able for me to figure something out for you kin.”

“Okay,” Karkat mutters. You see his ‘dex appear briefly before something falls out of it and he grabs it, offering it to you. “Here, you can borrow this for now, it’s an extra. Being the leader of a goddamn army means everyone constantly trying to talk to you, so lots of ways to be contacted is basically a must.”

He glances back and continues, “But one less won’t kill me. Trollian and all that are installed on it, do you think you can figure it out without going on a rant about miracles?”

You snort and grab it carefully, “I may be all able to figure this here out, but no promise on not speaking on its miracles kin.”

Karkat sighs, “Yeah, I kind of didn’t think I’d be so lucky.”

Chapter Text

It takes you the whole walk back to the main training area, with Karkat growling advice at you, to figure out how to use the phone enough to get trollian to open. These motherfuckers be a lot more complex than they look, despite Karkat insisting they be easy. You sit on the sidelines as Karkat trains his threshers and spend what must be over an hour trying to log into your old motherfucking account. You ain’t got no recall of the password, and it takes you a long while of guessing before you get it right. When you do, all you see is handles you don’t recognize, but that’s Feferi’s, Eridan’s, and Equius’s colors. You have messages from all of them and a brown blood as well? You can’t recall the troll what has that handle. You ignore them all, figuring there be no reason to bother reading messages that must be sweeps old by now.

You frown and try to remember a chat handle for someone you know in church. Oh, right, brother Mimica told you his forever ago. You search for ‘notoriousThespian’ and start a chat.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling notoriousThespian [NT]

TC: HeY My bRoThEr iT’S GaMzEe

NT: Damn Is That Really You Brother Makara?

TC: hAhA YeAh iT Is aLl bEiNg mE BrOtHeR MiMiCa

TC: HeRe, LeMmE Be pRoViNg iT As tO EaSe yOuR WoRrY

TC: rEmEmBeR WhEn wE WeRe pRaCtIcInG AnD ShIt wItH ThEm eLaStIc cOrD FaLlS

TC: AnD YoU AlL WeNt aNd mAdE ThE MoSt hIlArIoUs jOkE WhAt i nEaRlY GoT At iN TrOuBlE FoR LaUgHiNg oVeR It sO MoThErFuCkInG MuCh

TC: “AlL ThE MoThEr fUcKiNg fUn oF SuIcIdE WiThOuT ThAt mEsSy dEaTh aT ThE EnD”

TC: ReMeMbEr

NT: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Damn, Yeah, I Do. I Had To Tell The Educator The Joke Too Before You Did Get In Trouble. Then The Educator Started Laughing!!!!!!!!!!!

NT: That Was A Classic. What Is Up My Brother?

TC: NoT A MoThErFuCkInG LoT BuT AlL In tHe sAmE BrEaTh tOo mOtHeRfUcKiNg mUcH, yOu kNoW

NT: Yeah, I Got You My Brother. Seriously, Level With Me Though My Brother. You Did Not Contact Any One For The Six Sweeps You Were Out Of Church, So This Has To Be Important. You Need Something? Need My Skills Or Something?

TC: nAh nAh cHiLl nInJa

TC: In hOnEsTy i jUsT AiN’T NeVeR HaD A MeAnS Of cOnTaCt cAuSe tHiS HeRe mOtHeRfUcKeR Be fOrGeTfUl oN BrInGiNg tHiNgS MeAnT FoR CoMmUnIcAtIoN

TC: bUt nOw i aLl gOt mEaNs oF CoNtAcT AnD No kNoWlEdGe oN AnYoNe’s hAnDlEs

NT: Pfft. Oh, I See How It Is. You Only Contact Me To Get A Hold Of Someone Else And Leave Me In The Dust. That Is Hurtful Family, Using Me So. :,o(

TC: Oh pLeAsE My bRoThEr, YoUr aCtInG Be sO GoOd, CaN HaRdLy bE TeLlInG ThAt iT AiN’T ReAl

NT: Thank You, Thank You. I Try. I Will Be Serious Now Though. Who You Need A Hold Of?

TC: PoNtIfEx pRaKiS, gOt sHiT As i nEeD To fIgUrE OuT WiTh tHeM

NT: Oh? :o?

NT: What Shit Needs Figured Out?

NT: You Know I Hate Being Uninformed. Xo(

TC: yEaH I KnOw

TC: HoW AbOuT ThIs

TC: LeT’S AlL StArT A GrOuP ChAt cAuSe tHeRe bE OtHeRs wHaT NeEd tO KnOw aS WeLl aNd iT’D AlL Be eAsIeR ThIs wAy

NT: Awesome, Let Us Get To It. :o)

NT: Here, Click This: Mysterious Shit That Needs To Be Figured Out.

You struggle with the phone for a minute before you manage to click the link.

notoriousThespian [NT] opened memo board Mysterious Shit That Needs To Be Figured Out.

terminallyCapricious [TC] responded to memo.

TC: Ha hA Ha mOtHeRfUcKeR SlIcK NaMe

TC: I cAn’t fInD No sAsS In tHiS MoThEr fUcKiNg lAuGhSaSsIn :oP

parchmentAntiquarian [PA] responded to memo.

PA: Hello Mimica. What need§ to be figured out?

TC: OlDeR SiBlInG PrAkIs :oD

NT: Brother Makara Asked Me To Get A Hold Of You So I Do Not Know Yet.

TC: Oh, Uh, YeAh

TC: NeEdEd tO SpEaK AbOuT GeTtInG WhAt fAiThFuL BlUe bLoOd iNdUcTeD AnD SuCh

PA: Oh! Okay. :o)

NT: Faithful Blue Blood? :o?

TC: YeAh aIn’t iT ThE MoSt wIcKeD ShIt yOu eVeR DiD HeArD

TC: tHe fAiTh aNd mEsSiAhS BeInG BrOuGhT InTo tHe pUmP BiScUiTs oF AlL TrOlLs

TC: GoT A SwEeT RiNg iN It aNyWaY

NT: I Will Honk To That My Brother.

PA: Honk and prai§e indeed!

PA: But ye§, I a§§ume you want to §et up a council for §eeing if the brother i§ tru§tworthy?

TC: yOu gOt iT My sIbLiNg

PA: All right, I’ll invite tho§e who need to know.

sleepingPsycho [SP] responded to memo.

SP: what iZ thiZ about prakiZ

gloriousMayhem [GM] responded to memo.

GM: Sup you biTcHaSS moTHERfuckERS?

GM: okay So wHaT THE moTHERfuck iS GoiNG on HERE?

PA: Let’§ wait until everyone i§ here before we di§cu§§ what thi§ i§ about.

nefariousSemblance [NS] responded to memo.

NS: okay im here

spotlightBraggart [SB] responded to memo.

SB: SomEthing ƀig cErtAiNly SEEmS to ƀE goiNg oN hErE…

GM: THaT’s wHaT i waS SayiNG. :o/

operaticPurification [OP] responded to memo.

OP: -hello->

SB: wow iS thAt EvEryoNE yEt poNtifEx?

PA: Not quite.

mythologysBallad [MB] responded to memo.

MB: [wow okay what ^is^ going on here?]

PA: Well, our Grand ha§ §ome lovely new§ that he wanted to talk to u§ about!

GM: SHiT! my pupil bE HERE?

TC: hElLo sUbJuGglAtOr uZdAvI

GM: Glad THaT bEiNG GRaNd haSN’T SToppEd you fRom addRESSiNG mE So.

GM: NEaRly makES a SiSTER bluSH To bE hoNEST.

TC: wElL YoU CeRtAiN EaRnEd iT So wHy aLl wOuLdN’T I StIlL SpEaK It :o?

GM: Ha! you alwayS HavE bEEN a STicklER wiTH TiTlES of RESpEcT.

GM: NoT To imply THaT i THiNk THaT’S bad…

PA: It’§ part of what make§ him §uch a good mini§ter. :o)

GM: THaT iS cERTaiNly TRuE. :oD

TC: ThAnK YoU BoTh

TC: FuLl rEsPeCt aS I SaY ThIs BuT MuCh aS ChItChAtTiNg aRoUnD SoUnDs lIkE ThE MoSt bItChTiT’S FuN, wE ArE AlL HaViNg sHiT To SpEaK On

PA: Plu§ the time… Ye§, ye§, my bad. Go on then!

TC: wHo eLsE Be hErE

TC: i aIn’t kNoWiNg nOnE Of yOuR HaNdLeS So i aIn’t aBlE To tElL WhO’S WhO SoRrY

SP: it iZ okay my brother. thiZ iZ klamat koZeZi.

MB: [i guess role call then? averuk hinnun here.]

OP: -ruburm-shigin->

PA: Of cour§e I, Praki§ Dige§t, am here!

GM: SivilS uzdavi HERE.

NS: siluet gimnas nice to hear from you my brother

SB: fAylpE zElorN tAkiNg thE Spotlight! ;o)

NT: Mimica Payaso.

TC: I’M AlL GaMzEe mAkArA oF CoUrSe

TC: RiGhT SwEeT So lIsTeN HeRe fAmIlY, wHiLe oUt oF ChURcH I ReCeNt mEt wItH A LiTtLe bLuE BlOoD WhO’S FaItHfUl :oD

OP: -!->

SB: whAt?! rEAlly?

NS: oh wow

GM: wE11 fuck!

MB: [!]

SP: motherfuck!

NT: I Am Still Surprised Too. Can We Get More Details? Xo(

TC: HaHaHaHa sO ImPaTiEnT MoThEr fUcKeR

PA: That i§ why I gathered all of you here!

TC: yEaH We sPoKe aT It iN PeRsOnAl jUsT LiKe lAsT NiGhT AnD I AlL WaNt tHe bRoThEr tO LeArN AnD Be iNdUcTeD PrOpEr

NT: Is That Something That Can Be Done?

PA: Ye§! Though it ha§n’t happened for a long, long time §o even the educator§ here might be too young to remember that… :o|

SP: not everyone can have been hatched around the Zame time aZ the grand highblood you braggart.

PA: :oP

TC: FaMiLy tHe pOiNt iS AlL NeArInG To vEeRiNg oFf iF We aIn’t cArEfUl

PA: Ah, ye§. §orry again.

PA: §o, for the faithful non-purple to be inducted, fir§t he need§ to prove hi§ tru§tworthine§§. Unfortunately, it’§ nece§§ary given how many time§ the church ha§ been betrayed by non-purple§. :o(

NS: fuck them bitch ass motherfuckers that wronged us whoop

OP: -whoop-whoop->

GM: moTHERfuckiNg HoNk.

MB: [honk and/or whoop.]

SB: hoNk whoop!

NT: I Will Honk That.

PA: Whoop and honk indeed. >:oT

TC: HoNk hOnK hErEtIcS GoT WhAt tHeY FuCkInG DeSeRvEd

TC: BuT HoNkS AnD WhOoPs aSiDe wE StIlL GoT MoRe oF ThAt tHeRe dIsCuSsIoN To bE DoInG AnD PrAkIs bE ThE OnLy oNe wHo kNoWs wHaT NeEdS To bE DoNe sO TaKe iT AwAy fAm

PA: Certainly! Okay, §o, the rea§on I invited you all i§ becau§e for the brother to join, we need to have a council! Which is like a trial, of §ort§.

TC: YeAh i rEmEmBeR YoU GoInG At mEnTiOnInG ThAt bEfOrE, sO WhAt aLl iS ThE DiFfErEnCeS AnD SuCh :o?

PA: Like a trial, one troll who repre§ent§ each branch of the church need§ to be there, plu§ the Grand. However, almo§t everything after that i§ different.

PA: We all ju§t talk to the faithful non-purple, a§ well a§ anyone who can vouch for them. Then we all decide on ta§k for them to do to prove they are tru§tworthy. And on tho§e factor§, we all decide if they are tru§tworthy.

PA: Also, unlike trial, it i§ not decided by majority. It mu§t be unanimou§. :o/

SP: anyone who can vouch for them, like quadrantZ?

PA: Al§o whoever they work for. Get a view from tho§e who care and tho§e who are more neutral that way.

TC: AiGhT

TC: sO AlL LiKe wHaT WoUlD ThE TaSk bE

TC: YoU SaId bEfOrE It’d bE WhAT A ThInG ExPeCtEd oUt oF AlL FaMiLy bUt lIkE WhAt eXaCt dO YoU Be tHiNkInG WoUlD PrOvE TrUsT YeT NoT Be tOo mUcH To aSk oF OnE NoT YeT InDuCtEd nOr tRaInEd bY ThE ChUrCh

TC: I MeAn tHe bRoThEr iS BeInG An aLrEaDy fUlL TrAiNeD ThReShEr aNd aLl bUt StIlL… :o/

PA: Ye§, that i§ certainly a good que§tion…

PA: I would not be the only one to decide of cour§e. §o what do you all think?

SP: i’m not Zure… ZNORE

NS: hm

OP: -that’s-a-bit-of-a-conundrum->

MB: [^pausing to think^]

SB: i hAvE No iDEA. :o/

GM: waiT wHEN will THiS EvEN bE HappENiNg?

PA: That’§ a good que§tion a§ well! When were you planning to bring the brother, Gamzee?

TC: WeLl i wAnT ThIs sHiT FiGuReD OuT As sOoN As pOsSiBlE So ThAt iF We aLl cAn aGrEe tHaT He’s tRuStWoRtHy, He cAn lEaRn jUsT LiKe tHe oThErS BeFoRe iNdUcTiOn

TC: WaNnA Do tHiS PrOpEr aS MoThEr fUcK YoU KnOw

PA: Ye§, that i§ probably for the be§t.

TC: So i aLl hAd pLaNs fOr cOmInG WiTh hIm aNd tHe oThErS As sOoN As wE AlL CaN

TC: So, LiKe

TC: ToNiGhT If tImE AlLoWs

GM: SHiT my bRoTHER! you move faST wHEN SHiT HiTS THE bREEzE blENDER!

PA: Certainly… Now I’m wondering which one of u§ taught him that…

GM: …

TC: ThErE Do bE AnOtHeR MaTtEr i nEeD To sPeAk aT YoU AbOuT

PA: Hmm?

TC: rEmEmBeR AlL I SaId aT LaSt tImE AbOuT ThE LeAd tHrEsHeR :o?

PA: Oh. Ye§. He’§ the brother’§ “bo§§” I a§§ume?

TC: yEaH So lIkE YoU AlL SaId hE ShOuLd vOuCh aNd sHiT, bUt hOw wOuLd tHaT AlL HaPpEn wItH WhAt cHuRcH LoCaTiOn bEiNg aLl sEcReT AnD ShIt

PA: Hmm. :o/

NS: there are nearby planets

NS: the nonfaithful could dock on one and we could all meet them there or something

PA: That’§ a good idea! Doe§ it work for everyone el§e?

You look up to find Karkat coaching one of his threshers through basic combat techniques while the rest watch. You wait for a second before realizing that he won’t be stopping no time soon.

You call out, “Karkat.”

His nugbone snaps up, and he’s frowning with his brows furrowed in what seems to be confusion. You wave him over and he seems to squint before looking off and gesturing to someone else. An older troll walks up and Karkat briefly talks to them before walking in your direction.

He stops in front of you, frowning and crossing his arms over his chest as he asks, “What is it?”

“About earlier,” you say, “Was now just getting to speak on with my family and they all suggested you could all dock on a planet nearby.”

“Wait,” Karkat says, half asking, “This is about the thing with Shrila?”

You nod and explain, “Turns the motherfuck out that for this proving what Shrila needs to go through, my family would ask questions at him, you, and his quadrants.”

“Okay,” Karkat says.

“So, does that all sit well with you,” you ask, “All docking at a planet nearby and speaking with my family there instead of revealing where all the motherfucking church be.”

Karkat shrugs slightly, “If that works for you it works for me, I guess.”

“That’s great,” you say, smiling. You pause before adding on, “If Shrila is all able to prove himself, he would need to stay in church for a while after that. Learn shit as us clowns need to know. Don’t know how long it’ll be in honesty. Every clown goes back on occasion to hone skills and such, but the first lessons be the most important, and he’ll all need to learn everything he’s needing to know to be a proper subjugglator or laughsassin.”

“God, fuck,” Karkat hisses, glancing away. After a pause he asks, “He can still talk to trolls outside of the church though? I mean, it’s ultimately not my decision and something you should tell Shrila at some point before all this, but I need to know that the fucking psycho isn’t going to be cut off from his moirail.”

“Yeah, Shrila can speak at whomever he chooses,” you reply. “Family won’t stop him, especially not over quadrants.”

Karkat nods then says, “Okay. If he seriously wants this, I’m fine with it.”

You grin and say, “Wicked kin. This is going to be the motherfuckin shit’s bitchtits.”

“Just to be clear though,” Karkat says after a slight pause, half asking, “You are going to bring at least me, Shrila, Bergis, and three other purples to an unknown planet. Where Shrila, his quadrants, and I, all talk to some other clowns. Then, hopefully all the purples, you, and Shrila leave to go to another unknown planet for the whole godforsaken time. While Bergis and I do what? Stay in the ship on the first unknown planet? Leave and come back when you’re done?”

“I,” you pause, then answer truthfully, “Well there do be a carnival for the nights before initiation, one where clowns show off skills so new faithful can find interest in a job. You could be there if you motherfucking wanted. What you all do exact is your choice kin. Just all know at that the initiation itself is being all family only, so for that you can’t all be in church, else you could be killed for heresy.”

“Fucking great,” Karkat says, “Wonderful information. Good to know. Also, how the fuck would us going to the carnival or whatever not count as giving up the location of the church?”

“If you ain’t knowing where you be while you’re all up on that first motherfucking planet, how the fuck would you know what motherfucking planet is the one what holds the church? Even as if you did see what planet the church is on looked like, you won’t know where in space it be. It’s chill kin, I know all what I’m doing,” you smirk.

Karkat takes a deep breath and says, “Okay. For like the second time ever you seem to know what the fuck you’re talking about, so if you say it’s okay, I’ll agree. I do have a question though.”

“Yeah what’ll it be,” you prompt him, curious.

“What about my other crew members,” he asks. “I normally might not ask given all that we’ve already discussed as far as the secret or whatever, but I am going to assume you and the three purples are going to come back after the carnival, and it would be a waste to leave and come back just to pick you back up. So that means whoever you need to be there will be stuck for a while and we have no idea what the first planet has in store for us. So it would be better to have somewhere we know is safe to stay, with the force necessary to deal with whatever might be on the planet.”

“What you’re speaking do all makes sense,” you mutter as you think.

After a while you finally respond, “I ain’t thinking it’d be a clever idea for all them motherfuckers to come on in to the carnival, but I be supposing that if they ain’t minding staying in that there ship on an unknown planet, then neither am I.”

Karkat nods and asks, “For the sake of the part of me that is constantly on high alert, why wouldn’t you suggest them all coming to the carnival?”

You hesitate and wince slightly before admitting, “Their safety. I can keep watch on a few but not a whole damn crew.”

“Don’t start that again,” Karkat groans, probably thinking that you were all about to start some slam poetry, which you weren’t in honest. He all rolls his gander bulbs, “I get it, clowns are psychotic fucks who like killing.”

“Karkat,” you say flat and serious. He looks at you and you continue, “I won’t obscure this fact. As much as I care for my family, I know that those as are unfaithful are not motherfucking safe in the church unless they are close watched. To all outside the faith, we clowns are motherfucking dangerous. Don’t forget that for a second, especially not so near church. I’ll all have your back, but it would be fucking remiss of you to forget such a thing kin. I make no offence with this, but particularly with your blood color.”

“Right,” Karkat says sharply. A pause, then sounding more genuine, “Okay. Thank you for telling me that. When do you want to leave?”

“Ah shit, hold on, let me check in at what all my family has been saying,” you say.

“Alright, I’ll let Feferi know about this, so she doesn’t flip out,” Karkat mutters as you look back at the phone.

NT: Well I Am Not Having Much To Do With This So………..

SB: i DoN’t SEE why Not. :o/

MB: [yeah, i’m actually kind of excited to see the faithful non-purple!]

OP: -me-too-:)->

NS: yeah lets get this shit motherfuckin figured out

GM: caN’T waiT!

SP: i’m fine with it too.

PA: Glad to §ee we all agree! §o, little brother, what about you?

PA: …Gamzee?

NT: He Is Not Responding To Private Messages Either. I Wonder If Everything Is All Okay?

NS: youre just itching for some action aint you

NT: Can You Motherfucking Blame Me? :o(

NS: nah

GM: EvERyoNE GETS THEm TimES aS THE NEEd To bE doinG SomE damaGE aT SomETHiNG callS wiTH STRENGTH.

NS: you mean every motherfucking night

OP: -oh-shush-you->

OP: -don’t-make-me-pap-you-over-group-chat->

NS: what about private

OP: >:(

NS: oh shit no quirk angry frown im in trouble now

GM: would you Too plEaSE NoT makE aNoTHER GRoup cHaT iNTo your daTE NiGHT?

SP: i really hate to Zay thiZ but you and faylpe do thiZ way more than siluet and ruburm.

GM: wHaT?!

SB: whAt?!

GM: …

SB: …

SP: okay not counting that but ZeriouZly you two flirt all the time and i can’t even tell what quadrant it iZ half the fucking time like pleaZe why. you two are near to giving me and aZhen chruZh with thiZ Zhit.

MB: [i’m laughing ^^so^ ^motherfucking^ ^much^^ right now.]

PA: Oh, you all, plea§e! Little brother Gamzee ha§ been only gone for a few minute§ and we have §everely lo§t track of what the point wa§!

NT: Oh Man This Is So Much More Information Than I Ever Wanted To Know. Xo|

TC: ShIt i’m aLl wItH MiMiCa oN ThIs oNe mOtHeR FuCk

PA: I’m happy you’ve returned Gamzee. I§ everything §quared away on your end?

TC: VaNtAs aLl sAyS ThAt lEaViNg aNd cOmInG BaCk wOuLd bE A WaStE

TC: sO He aLl wAnTs tO BrInG HiS WhOlE ShIp cReW So tHe uNfAiThfuL GoT A PlAcE WhAt’s kNoWn sAfE To sTaY At iN AnD EnOuGh fOrCe tO FeNd oFf aNyThInG WhAt mIgHt aLl cOmE At tHeM On wHaTeVeR RaNdOm pLaNeT ThEy eNd uP LaNdInG AnD StAyInG On

PA: That §eem§ like a well-thought-out idea.

PA: Given all that, and the fact that you are held to going back in §pace, I figure that it’§ fine if they decide to §tay on that planet until you have to leave. :o/

NT: What? How Are You Held To Anything Brother Makara? What The Fuck Is Going On??????????? DoX

GM: ThaT’S wHaT I waS woNdERiNG… :o/

TC: It bE A LoNg mOtHeRfUcKiNg sToRy bUt bAsIcAlLy rIgHt nOw i’m aLl bEiNg hElD To mY WoRd oF HeLpInG ThE EmPrEsS

TC: pRaKiS AlL Up aNd kNoWs tHe wHoLe lEnGtH Of tHe mAtTeR AnD ThEy cAn tElL YoU WhEn aLl eLsE Is fIgUrEd oUt

TC: BuT AlL GoInG BaCk aT ThE ToPiC FoR ThE MoThErFuCkInG MoMeNt

TC: wHeN AlL ShOuLd wE LeAvE

PA: I §uppo§e a§ §oon a§ you are ready! You know we won’t mind you getting here early hehehe.

PA: Ju§t §end a me§§age when you are there and then we’ll journey to where you are.

TC: sWeEt i’lL AlL Be rIgHt bAcK

PA: Now I know you all are dying to know what i§ going on, §o li§ten up!

You look back up to Karkat and say, “Kin.”

He looks at you and you continue, “I’m ready to go whenever you are.”

“Alright,” he replies with a frown, “I almost forgot that Shrila is flush with Timare, who’s in a different flaysquad. I contacted them, and they are coming, so we need to wait for them. In the meantime, talk to Shrila about what you told me. Needing to stay and all that.”

“Aight, what’s his motherfucking chat handle,” you ask.

“Undying mayhem,” Karkat says.

“Bitchtits,” you chuckle softly at yourself. Quick here though you should let your family know what be up with you waiting.

terminallyCapricious [TC] responded to memo.

TC: dRoPpInG In tO SaY At tHaT We hAvE To bE WaItInG On tHe bRoThEr’s mAtEsPrIt bUt tHeN We sHoUlD Be aLl aBlE To dIsEmBaRk

Then you search for what handle Karkat just spoke at you and all start a chat.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling undyingMayhem [UM]

TC: HeY BrOtHeR ShRiLa i’m aLl bEiNg tHe gRaNd pUlPiTeEr

UM: \oh shit\

UM: \hey\

UM: \whats up?\

TC: WeLl i aLl gOt gOoD MoThEr fUcKiNg nEwS At yOu

UM: \what is it?\

TC: I’M GeTtInG ShIt fIgUrEd oUt sO YoU CaN AlL Be iNdUcTeD :oD

UM: \what oh my fucking\

UM: \seriousl/y?!\

TC: sErIoUs aS ScRiPtUrE HeRe mY BrOtHeR

UM: \holy fuck\

TC: hAhAhAhAhAhAhA HoNk

TC: i dO AlL NeEd tO Be tElLiNg yOu sOmEtHiNgS ReAl qUiCk hErE So lIsTeN Up aIgHt

UM: \okay\

TC: So, YoU SeE, hErE Is wHaT AlL WiLl bE GoInG DoWn

TC: YoU ArE AlL BeInG To mEeTiNg uP At wItH SoMe oF ThE FaMiLy aNd iF ThEy aLl aGrEe tHaT YoU Be tRuStWoRtHy yOu’lL AlL Be aLlOwEd tO Be iNdUcTeD WhIcH Is bItChTiTs mOtHeR FuCkInG AwEsOmE

TC: tHeN, tHiS HeRe bE ThE PaRt wHaT Be iMpOrTaNt aS FuCk fOr mE To Be lEtTiNg yOu kNoW OnTo aCcOrDiNg tO VaNtAs

TC: YoU WiLl aLl hAvE To sTaY At cHuRcH FoR TiMe yEt uNkNoWn sO WhAt yOu cAn aLl gEt tRaInInG DoNe, YoU FeEl

UM: \yeah i can see how martinet thought that was important to tell me\

UM: \fuck though im kind of in shock that this could be actually happening?\

UM: \im so happy\

TC: I’M AlL MoThEr fUcKiNg gLaD To hEaR At tHaT :o)

TC: aLl tHiS BeInG Up aNd sAiD, rEmEmBeR ThAt nO MoThErFuCkEr bE RuShInG YoU

TC: tHiS HeRe bE YoUr mOtHeRfUcKiNg dEcIsIoN In tHe EnD I’M AlL JuSt tRyInG To MaKe iT So tHaT If aLl wOrKs oUt yOu’lL HeAr tHeM LeSsOnS As YoU NeEd tO KnOw bEfOrE InDuCtIoN AnD ThEn yOu cAn tAkE TiMe tO ThInK On aT If tHiS Be wHaT TrUe yOu wAnT

UM: \i\

UM: \this means so much to me\

UM: \even if you cant guarantee anything just the opportunity is honestly great\

UM: \thank you so much\

TC: nO PrObLeM ShRiLa

TC: I’Ll aLl lEaVe yOu tO ThInK At wHaT AlL I JuSt SaId

TC: SpEaK WiTh yOu lAtEr

TC: PeAcE :o)

You can’t help but be smiling at yourself after all talking with Shrila. You look up at Karkat and say, “I all told him so now he got time to be thinking on it.”

“Good,” Karkat replies. After a pause, he looks at you and asks, “So are you just going to sit here and wait until we’re ready to leave?”

You wonder if there be anything else to get to doing. Your pan all brings up them old messages and something in you aches. You hum shortly, mood having rapidly dropped as you all shrug and mutter at Karkat, “Better than getting lost in this here place.”

“You could always talk to the other purples,” Karkat says.

You chuckle softly and say honestly, “Sounds like fun.”

“Apocalyptic Crescendo is Adamel,” Karkat says, “And trust me, if you get a hold of one of them you’ll end up talking to them all.”

After a pause where you try to respond positively, because honestly that does sound all nice, but you can’t find no words and Karkat says, “Alright, I’ll leave you to whatever. Call me over if you need me for anything else. Either that or, if I’m not within audible range, hit up my handle carcino geneticist.”

You nod and say quietly, “Thanks kin.”

Karkat walks away, back to the group of young threshers. You look at the phone and stare at that notification blinking on about unread messages. The one what bothers you the most is the brown colored handle that you can’t recall a troll to. You know you all forgot things from your past, in fact once you met Feferi, Eridan, and Equius again when you all were ten, you almost didn’t recollect Feferi nor Eridan, and Equius you truly forgot in total. You don’t even recall how much you all talked at any of them when you were young, though you suppose you all do have opportunity to look now.

The thought ain’t a happy one, it’s all being a sour weight in you. For even though you can look and probably will recall once you start looking at the shit, you ain’t wanting for seeing at all as you did and said back then. All the shit as was said back then had been while you were out your pan on sopor. You recall some of how you were with no amount of fondness. Who you used to be ain’t all who you be now. The you before wasn’t hardly anything more than some motherfucker as was willing to put up with anything and anyone just for a little bit of motherfucking company. You were lonely and drugging yourself to a numb as seemed to be happiness at the time. Trolls as you meet now meet an actual multi-faceted troll, with thoughts and opinions that you have full ability to express if you have a desire to do so, with a pan as might be scarred and warped, but a pan as is more able to make choices, with secrets and clarity, and with emotions that now all form in a correct state of pan.

You do be to wonder at who the brown blood was, what all kind of connection you had, but the wonder ain’t near enough for you to actually be looking. Some part of you all whispers at you that it ain’t really mattering what was, for in them past times you weren’t in your pan enough to properly be yourself, so whatever there might have been was all as good as a motherfucking fabrication. Whatever they thought on you was all at the you as was not truly you, and whatever you thought on them was all formed out of a blurred reality and sopor-fueled thinking. The memories all to be making you sick, and you be having at no desire for to remember all clear and present what a dumb fuck you was. It be less then meaningless to see how it was, not just with this motherfucker as you don’t be remembering at anymore, but also with whatever shit as the other three you got recall on of.

You sigh through your cartilaginous nub and think all that maybe you should speak with family, since family always makes you feel happier. But all at the same time, you know when you’re in moods such as this, you can quickly get to lashing out at others just for being all motherfucking happy, and you ain’t wanting to do that at no one. Motherfuck, you hate when shit such as this happens. You fall back and lay on the cold metal of the ship’s floor, staring up at the blank ceiling and wishing you could all be seeing at the stars.

You wonder how all the carnival’s going. You think on all the fun and noise what must be going on and smile to yourself. The carnival would all make you feel worlds better. You remember all the different carnivals you’ve experienced with happiness. The carnival of festivity, the carnival of partnership, the carnival of commencement, the carnival of transformation, the carnival of entitlement, the Grand carnival.

All them be motherfucking great, but you think your favorite must all be the carnival of commencement. You smile and close your gander bulbs, remembering all the times you’ve seen family all smiling and laughing as they performed acts of wonderment to the amazement of yourself and others. Music, games, food, performances, this carnival has it motherfucking all, it’s amazing every time you experience it. When you were young and yet to go through initiation, it was a most motherfucking magical experience to you. You watched the painters make beautiful art, the wonderful plays those as were thespians put on, the amazing acts the subjugglators and laughsassins did, the stunning magic acts, the awe-inspiring music, the entertaining games, and the fantastic cooking. Everything was like watching miracles being made in front of you. When you got older and learned the skills of a subjugglator, you were all being able to be raucous and take part in some of them there motherfucking acts. Filling those younger then you with the very same motherfucking wonderment. It was a feeling like no other, seeing young family staring at you with wide gander bulbs before they all were inducted.

Not to all mention the holy act of the induction itself. A thing most venerated and awaited expectantly, nerve-wracking and the proudest moment for all the family. It was the thing you had struggled through addiction for. You had been fucked out of your pan, and family would not let you decide on something so important when you weren’t truly right in your pan. As you got off sopor, your family also helped you through the blinding fits of rage and fear, they brought you back to a healthy weight, they slowly told you the lessons they could before your initiation. All making sure you did know certain what you were committing to once they all thought you were of your own pan to be committing to any motherfucking thing. So, when you had been inducted yourself it was like finally reaping the culmination of all you had suffered through, both on the matter of fighting to sobriety and on the matter of all what occurred to you in your grubhood.

It was everything you wanted, needed, and hoped for. It was lifechanging, amazing, and something what is more than you can say in words. And all them other inductions what you had part in, being able to experience other family commit themselves. Seeing the gander bulbs rimmed with dismay fluid, the huge emotional grins, the nervous shaking limbs, the hidden and muffled sobs of joy. Seeing how induction affected all them as were your family, seeing it change them all in ways unique and personal. It is the most humbling thing you experienced being able to be a part of, whether it was all being inducted or watching others be inducted. And this time you could all be the one to induct the young family.

You open your gander bulbs back up from the rush of nervousness in you. It’s being like you can’t breathe without a struggle. But motherfuck you do want to do it for all it unnerves you. Being able to induct the family, it’s something you never once started thinking you would be able to earn the honor of. You want to do it and you want to do it right. You wonder absently if weeping during it would be motherfucking bad because you’re near weeping now and you ain’t even near to doing it yet.

You sit up, breathe slowly out your talk blaster, and decide to speak to Prakis about it. It’s great that you can all do that now so easily. You really do wish you had done thought about getting a way to be contacting your family before now. You shake it off a little, knowing you can’t be changing what already done got to be happening, but still feeling a bit stupid for it all.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling parchmentAntiquarian [PA]

TC: hEy oLdEr sIbLiNg

PA: Ye§, little brother? I§ everything alright?

TC: yEaH, i aLl sUpPoSe iT Is

TC: ReMeMbEr wHaT YoU AlL ToLd mE BeFoRe i dOnE LeFt

TC: AbOuT ThEm iNiTiAtIoNs

PA: Ye§, of course I do.

PA: Why? Have you…

PA: Have you come to a deci§ion?

TC: YeAh i aLl hAvE

TC: i wAnT To dO It

PA: Oh! That’§ great! I’m §o happy to hear it! :o)

PA: Thi§ §weep’§ carnival of commencement i§ really §haping up to be §omething amazing!

TC: …i’m rEaLlY MoThEr fUcKiNg nErVoUs aBoUt iT PrAkIs

PA: Well… That’§ not really a §urprise.

TC: :o|

PA: Everyone i§ alway§ nervou§ their fir§t time Gamzee! I wa§ nervou§ the fir§t time I did an initiation!

TC: Ha cAn’t hArDlY ImAgInE YoU BeInG NeRvOuS On aT AnYtHiNg tRuLy

PA: Look, Gamzee. You know what to do, you are a great Mini§ter and Grand. Don’t you dare di§pute it becau§e I know you and I trained you. You know what you’re doing Gamzee. Don’t doubt your§elf §o much.

TC: ThAnKs pRaKiS

TC: mEaNs a wHoLe mOtHeRfUcKiNg lOt tO Be hEaRiNg tHaT FrOm yOu

TC: It rEaLlY DoEs

TC: I’M StIlL AlL KiNdS MoThErFuCkInG NeRvOuS BuT I FeEl a lItTlE BeTtEr

PA: That’§ good!

PA: By the way, I §ay thi§ a§ both your family and your educator. My brother, you really need to work on your motherfucking confidence. :oP

TC: I KnOw bUt iT AiN’T No eAsY ThInG

PA: It certainly i§n’t. But you know what? If you are all that worried about it, put it in the Me§§iah§’ prong§. With it in their prong§ you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Well fuck, you were so stuck up in your pan that this simple as all fuck solution escaped you. You take a large breath of air, holding it for a moment, then slowly let it out as you mentally give the worry all to the Messiahs. Of all course, you also thank them for taking it. Then you go back to speaking with Prakis, pan feeling a lot lighter.

TC: tRuE

TC: sIbLiNg yOu aLwAyS KnOw wHaT Is bEsT To bE SaYiNg

PA: That i§ becau§e I’ve lived §o long and had §o much practice. One night you’ll be a§ good a§ me at it.

TC: I Do aLl hOpE So sIbLiNg, I HoNeSt lOoK FoRwArD To ThAt nIgHt :o)

PA: Well I am now looking forward to §eeing you induct our young family member§!

TC: YoU GoT AnY TiPs aS WoUlD HeLp mE AlL Be dOiNg tHiS ShIt

TC: I’Ve sEeN YoU AlL Do iT PlEnTy oF MoThErFuCkInG TiMeS AnD AlL

TC: bUt lIkE YoU AlL SaId, YoU’Ve bEeN DoInG It fOr a lOnG AsS MoThEr fUcKiNg tImE

TC: sO HiT Me uP WiTh tIpS AnD AdViCe iF YoU AlL DoN’T MiNd

PA: I’d be more than happy to do that Gamzee! :o)

TC: LeT’S AlL StArT At wHeThEr oR NoT It’d bE ChIlL To sTaRt aLl lEaKiNg dIsMaY FlUiD WhIlE I’M AlL DoInG It cAuSe tHaT Is hOnEsT A ToTaL PoSsIbIlItY My sIbLiNg

PA: Hehehe! Well, get all properly ready, becau§e you’re about to get a full and proper le§§on here.

Chapter Text

You spend the next couple of hours listening to Prakis’s lesson. Or, all reading it, you suppose. Your sibling has all the best advice and such, it was true motherfucking helpful learning at all of it. Prakis just all finished the lesson a little bit ago when you hear someone all walking closer to you and you look up to see Karkat.

“Hey,” Karkat says as a greeting, but does not wait to continue, “Shrila’s matesprit Timare is here.”

You say, “Well motherfuck, that all was quick.”

“I guess,” Karkat shrugs. After a slight pause, he says, “I am going to meet up with Timare quickly and then we are going to go over to my battleship. I messaged my crew members and they are on their way, so you should probably go to it as well.”

“Aight,” you say. You stand and stretch, feeling stiff from sitting for so long.

Karkat points to a hall and says, “My battleship is down that way.”

“Sweet,” you say. “This directional shit does get to confusion in my pan.”

“Yeah, I figured,” Karkat says. “See you in a little bit.”

You wave slightly before turning around and walking towards the hall Karkat pointed at. You leisurely stroll down the hall, making it to the door what leads into the docking bay. You figure since Karkat all said that the other crew members be all on their way to the ship, that the bay be sealed and safe, but all at the same time you’d rather be safe then motherfucking sorry.

You press the button beside the door and say, “Uh, I just all wanted to make sure it was chill to be going out on the docking platform.”

You release the button and a voice answers back almost immediately, “It’s safe to go out on the docking bay.”

“Cool,” you mutter at yourself, not bothering to push the button again.

You open the door and see the familiar docking platform with Karkat’s large ship and the few other smaller ones as well. You walk all up into Karkat’s ship, and look around, all being wondering which way the cockpit is being. You spot a sign and it is quite motherfucking helpful, all pointing what ways certain areas of the ship are. You follow the direction for the cockpit, making sure to look for more of them signs as to make all certain you’re going the right way.

You open a door what should all be the cockpit and are pleasant surprised to see that you indeed be in the block with all the weird technology as baffles your pan. There are a few other trolls in here, but you hardly pay them any mind. You stand and lean against the wall by the door, thinking on how the cockpit of the ship you had been borrowing all had not much of motherfuckin anything aside from a captain’s chair. Aradia in truth dealt with all the technical and mechanical shit. You were just the motherfucker what corralled trolls into the ship and kept them from going killing at each other. It was mostly easy and certainly boring.

The door opens, and you startle as someone screams shortly. You look over to see someone who must be another member of Karkat’s crew, wearing what fucking armor as the rest does. They all ain’t got no hair on their nugbone, their horns go up then both bend away from their nugbone at an angle, and their sign is this weird shape. It’s kind of like a raindrop with a line going horizontal through it, and a ‘v’ at the top of the raindrop. It’s kind of complicated and violet in color. They are staring at you, fins flared out and looking scared as all fuck as they growl, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Oh, I forgot you didn’t see him earlier,” someone in the block mutters.

Someone behind them says, “Relax Caline. That’s the Grand Highblood.”

The violet looks behind them, their fins twitching, before they look back at you and cautiously step further inside the block, asking you, “Why are you even standing right by the door?”

You blink and shrug, “Where the fuck else am I meant to be?”

The troll behind them is the teal from before, the one wearing sunglasses and having a sign that looks like an elongated diamond with a line through it that curves off to one side out the top. They walk in, scoffing softly in laughter, and placing a prong on the violet’s shoulder, softly saying, “Come on, time to roost over at your station while we wait for Martinet.”

The violet huffs and relaxes, walking away with the teal without protest. You wonder if they all had a run in with your family in the past and that was all why they were shocked to fear by seeing at you. You huff and walk a little way away from the door, not particularly caring all about scaring any motherfucker but more just not wanting to hear no more screaming right next to your auricular sponge clots. After a little while, Bergis and Shrila walk in the block.

You smile and wave as you friendly greet them, “Hey there.”

They look over and Shrila waves back slightly, then catches it and bows, standing back up from the bow with his face tinted blue. You chuckle softly and Shrila hesitates, fidgeting before walking over to one of them monitors. You figure him nervous and leave be, not having much what you haven’t already said as would calm his nerves.

Another few minutes pass, idle conversations going all on around you as the few as were all at these monitors last time trickle into the block. Before long you see Karkat walk in. Behind him is a rust with horns what remind you of a barkfiend’s auricular shells, and all of course they wear similar armor to Karkat and his other crew members. Their hair is tied up into two small tufts on opposite sides of their nugbone, with several colored bows decorating their hair, a sign that looks like an upside-down triangle that has one longer side on the left. They excitedly rush over to Shrila and you figure them for his matesprit.

Karkat walks up to you, saying at you, “So I’m going to switch the ship to automatic, and then you do the same thing as you would with the autopilot ships.”

You nod and follow Karkat to the captain’s chair. Karkat sits and reveals a keyboard what you didn’t know was there before, then he all quickly types commands before ‘autopilot mode’ flashes on screen. Karkat stands up and gestures for you to sit in the chair. You go ahead and all take the invitation, sitting down and searching for a planet as is nearby the church before setting that as the destination, turning to smile at Karkat when all the screen reads ‘destination set’. Karkat huffs and shoos you off his chair, muttering, “Go be a creepy clown with the other creepy clowns on the ship.”

You chuckle, deciding to leave Shrila be with his quadrants as you go ahead to spend time with the younger three purples as you just noticed are all in this block now too. This not-quite six-hour trip to a planet somewhat close to church is bound to be all way more fun what with actual company, not to mention company as are friendly, and family on top.

Chapter Text

The ship lands easily enough on the random planet, and a little while ago you let your family know where all the lot of you would be landing and that you were close. Karkat paces back and forth, doing the marching trot as he speaks to most everyone. It ain’t aimed at you, but you do watch and listen, waiting all for your family to announce their arrival to you.

“Okay,” Karkat says, “So we are going to be staying here on this unknown planet for a few nights or so, and since we have no idea what dangers could be on this planet, I want all of you to stay in this ship for safety purposes. However, a few of us will be walking on the planet here shortly. Be on your guard in case we need backup. This is a code grey, okay?”

You think Karkat needs to all chill out a little, he all do seem to wind himself into tight agitated knots too often, and you figure this planet ain’t nothing to be worrying on ‘cause you’ve all seen how he trains his new threshers. If he all has done trained every thresher the same way, then these motherfuckers have all got it handled. The phone what you are still being to borrow from Karkat makes a sound to all make alerting at you and you look at it to see that Prakis has all sent message saying that they be here.

“Karkat,” you call out to all grab his attention.

He turns and looks at you, and you smile as you say, “Family’s here.”

“That was quick,” Karkat mutters reply. Then he turns back to the others, saying, “Shrila, Bergis, Timare, you all ready to move out?”

“Wait,” Adamel speaks up, “Can the three of us go to church?”

“Yeah,” Karkat says, “You three are faithful, so you would normally go there anyway, apparently. Just make sure you keep a means of contact on you.”

“Wicked,” Adamel smiles, “We certainly will do that Martinet.”

“Alright, now that that’s all settled, everyone else stay here and be cautious,” Karkat says. Then he turns and says all at you, “So, let’s move out.”

You stand and say to Karkat, “Let me all walk out in front kin.”

Karkat looks at you before nodding, letting you guide what group as consists of you, Karkat, Shrila, Bergis, and the rust with barkfiend horns and decorated hair whom you all figure is being Timare. You make your way through the ship, making to exit with ease. When you make it out to the planet you see another craft which you know for being a church ship, not only because your family all be standing out in front of it. The ship is smaller than Karkat’s ship, but not by much. It’s painted with swirls, circles, and waving lines, making a beautiful abstract art piece. It’s all done up with all the blood colors baring your own caste, mutant, and fuchsia. It’s the holy ship Painter's Choice, if you got to remembering right, and you smile when you see Prakis as you walk up to them and the others.

You recognize subjugglator Uzdavi with her long curly hair, her makeup having light grey base with dark angry eyebrows and a tooth-filled frown, her horns wide and all vaguely shaped like chainsaws. The heft satchel she’s wearing has a waving dark purple and light purple pattern, her short athletic shorts are being just plain black. Her sign is all painted on both of her shoulders, looking like the letter ‘B’ with a line that goes up and bends off. You can see her grub scars on the sides of her stomach, and she is ripped as fuck. Yeah, you’re all still kind of scared of her honestly.

Then there’s educator Kosezi, her makeup a light grey base with dark round gander bulbs, a curved thin smile, and a circle on the tip of her cartilaginous nub. Her hair is tied up into a long flowing tail, her horns almost reminding you of a sickle’s blade. She’s wearing a dark purple jumpsuit with a low V-neck, and her sign is in the top corner, all being a diagonal diamond with a curved line out the bottom.

Then there’s educator Gimnas, who ain’t got no hair, their horns going up and curving backwards. You frown because you’re still having difficulty remembering their gender. They are wearing dark purple jeans, a sleeveless muscle shirt that is striped with light purple and purple, their black sign looking like an ‘s’ with the top curve closing to make a circle. Their makeup is mostly light grey with a dark grey wide curled grin with sharp fangs, a line down each gander bulb, and jagged curved eyebrows above each gander bulb that looks like three triangles joined together.

There be a few others as you don’t quite recognize enough to have names of them in your memory, but feel like you’ve all seen their faces.

There’s a sibling with mainly dark grey makeup, a circle of light grey on their lips as well as in lines above and angled down from each gander bulb, the lines making an almost triangle shape framing their gander bulbs. They are wearing a purple crop top what lets you see their grub scars, with a sign in black that looks like a ‘t’ and a ‘b’ got all mashed together, and dancer tights as are light purple with dark purple polka dots. Their hair is tied in tight rows of braids against their nugbone and their horns are a bit odd shaped, having a thin straight base with the top widening all bulbous.

Another sibling is wearing mostly dark grey makeup, the only light grey being a line straight across their face, right along where their gander bulbs sit on their face, as well as lines as go over their talk blaster and down either side. They have somewhat short hair that is slightly wavy, their body thicker than the others, and their horns look a lot like Aradia’s, except they curve up. They are wearing a black short tight sleeveless top with a high collar, their grub scars visible and their sign in purple, and loose poufy purple shorts. Their sign is, a little hard to describe. Like an upside down ‘v’ with a curve on the left end and a line down the middle of the ‘v’.

The last sibling you see has a light grey face with dark grey flower shapes over each of their gander bulbs, as well as a continuous line that marks the shapes of cheek bones and teeth. A skull with flower gander bulbs, that’s motherfucking wicked. They have wild curly hair and horns that are mismatched at the top, one all just a straight point and the other looking like an arrowhead. They are wearing a dark purple dress over-all thing with light purple polka dots, a loose black shirt with their sign in purple under that, and long socks that are striped black and purple. Their sign is basically three arrows crossing over each other.

You dip a bit for a respectful greeting and say, “Hey my family.”

Prakis smiles at you and subjugglator Uzdavi comes up, getting you in a loose hold and pulling you down with no fucking effort, all ruffling your hair roughly as she says, “It’s been too motherfucking long, my juggernaut.”

You laugh lowly, saying, “It sure has, subjugglator Uzdavi.”

Subjugglator Uzdavi all releases you and you stand, saying, “Well, there be some introductions in order, so I’ll all introduce myself first, then those I brought with me can make themselves known, then you all can make yourselves known as well.”

After a pause, you gesture to yourself, “I’m Gamzee Makara and my title is the Grand Pulpiteer.”

You turn, considering for a moment before walking slightly towards Shrila and gesturing at him. “This is the blue blooded brother what I spoke on whom has faith as we do.”

You make a motion with your hand and Shrila snaps to attention, then jerkily bows, face flushed and looking a bit out of his comfort, “Shrila Sirien.”

You point to Bergis next, and he hesitates before saying, “Bergis Glemoy, I’m Shrila’s moirail.”

When you point to the other rust, they don’t hesitate to announce, “I’m Timare Apawul and I’m Shrila’s matesprit!”

You finally point to Karkat and he says, “Karkat Vantas, my title is the Martinet.”

You look to your family and say, “Karkat Vantas is also the general of the threshecutioners and leader of the Imperial Army.”

You then nod to your family and Prakis all starts by introducing themselves, “I’m Prakis Degist, my title is the Clerical Pontifex.”

“Sivils Uzdavi, my title is the Forceful Sergeant,” subjugglator Uzdavi smirks as she points to herself with her thumb.

“I’m Klamat Kosezi,” educator Kosezi says with a small wave, “the Informal Systemic.”

“Siluet Gimnas, the Skulking Enforcer,” educator Gimnas says.

The sibling with dark grey makeup and the light triangle shape framing their gander bulbs bows to you all graceful as they say softly, “Faylpe Zelorn, the Skillful Danseuse. I’m honored to finally meet you face-to-face Grand Pulpiteer.”

The next sibling is the other one with mostly dark grey makeup, the only light grey across their face and around their talk blaster, greeting you with a bit of a curtsy, “I’m Averuk Hinnun, the Talented Thespian. It’s an honor, Grand Pulpiteer.”

The final sibling with a skull that has flower gander bulbs for makeup bows quickly before standing, smiling and waving as they say, “I’m Ruburm Shigin, also known as the Constant Exemplar! Nice to finally meet you in person Grand Pulpiteer, you really do look a lot like the old Grand!”

You blink and educator Kosezi hisses, “Ruburm!”

Educator Shigin giggles and sways as they say, “What, he even uses TC, just like the Grand Highblood! Even if they are different, I know I’m not the only who’s thought about how similar those two are.”

Huh, you didn’t know the Grand Highblood had used TC. You scratch the back of your nugbone as Prakis says, “They are descendant and ancestor, so of course they look a little similar. As for the chat handle similarity, I figure that’s just a coincidence.”

The group seems to think on that for a second and you clear your squeal pipette before you all can get too sidetracked. They all look at you and you smile gently, Prakis quickly saying, “Oh, apologies, here we go getting off topic again. Sorry Gamzee.”

“Nah, nah,” you say, waving it off, “It’s fine. You all hardly get to have time to all chat when some family member ain’t vying for your attention and it’s hard to not all relax and catch up in the times you do, I understand.”

Prakis smiles and says, “Yes well, we do have business to attend to, so let’s get going.”

You smile, “Certainly my sibling, you want for leading the way, or should I?”

“You can lead the way,” Prakis says. You nod and start walking away from the ship, the planet you be on got some scrappy trees growing about, though they don’t look much like any Alternian trees you done ever seen. Then again you ain’t seen many trees outside them ones the church got. While walking, you take note that the two groups all form two separate lines behind you. Karkat and his threshers marching behind you on the right in a straight line, and your family all on the left in something loosely resembling a line.

“Okay Shrila Sirien,” Prakis starts up, “This procedure is simple and painless. We will ask you, your quadrants, and your superior some questions about you. For you to be accepted, we need complete honesty and transparency from you all. Then there is a task we would ask you to complete to prove yourself. If the family all decides that you are trustworthy, then you can come to church and catch up on learning everything you need to know before induction.”

“Okay,” Shrila says quietly, and you all glance back to see what’s happening.

Prakis smiles and says, “The task will be something easy and harmless, just something to assure us that you are dedicated to the faith and the faithful.”

Shrila nods and you look forward to watch where you’re walking as Prakis says, “To start off, how about you tell us a little bit about yourself?”

“Uh,” Shrila says, “Well, um, I’m thirteen sweeps old. I’m a cobalt blood, but I guess that’s sort of obvious, fuck. I, well honestly I am nervous, and I’m having trouble thinking of anything that you would want to know about me.”

Prakis softly chuckles and says, “How about your quadrants? How long have you been with them?”

“Oh,” Shrila says, his voice all pride, “Bergis and I have basically been together since we were pupa. He’s absolutely the best moirail, making sure I don’t do anything too dangerous, while I make sure he stays safe. Timare and I got together when I was ten, and they are amazing, like, so good-looking and strong, and I pity them so much.”

You hear someone giggle and you all assume it’s Timare because you hear them say, “Pity you too, silly boy.”

“Ah, young pity, how sweet,” Prakis murmurs. After a slight pause, they ask, “So how about you Bergis Glemoy, how would you describe your quadrant mate?”

“Well,” Bergis pauses before continuing, “first I would say that he isn’t usually this nervous. Usually he’s confident, and deservedly so. He is strong and smart, very much capable of holding his own in battle, though he’s reckless at times.”

“Reckless,” you hear the voice of educator Kosezi as she asks, “How so?”

Bergis hesitates, “Uh, well, I mean not reckless like, I, Shrila is my moirail so naturally I worry about the things he does, but I guess I meant like.”

There’s a pause and you can hear someone, you assume Bergis, take a deep breath before you hear Bergis continue, “When he fights he can lose his control and he acts wildly. It’s, it’s just something that worries me as his moirail, even if I know he can handle himself. If that makes sense.”

Someone hums thoughtfully, and you figure motherfuckers having issues over control and reckless actions is something that the church and family almost always deals with, so it ain’t much of an issue. If anything, it makes you think that it sounds like Shrila could make a good subjugglator maybe. Eh, but you ain’t no educator neither, you’ll leave figuring that shit out to those as know how to do it.

“Alright, Timare, Apawul, was it,” Prakis inquires.

You hear a positive hum of a reply before Prakis asks, “How would you describe your quadrant mate?”

“He’s very sweet and pitiful,” the voice you’re beginning to recognize as Timare says, “I’ve never actually seen him this nervous before, so this must be incredibly important to him, and even if I don’t really get why, I’m going to try to help him in any way I can. He is very skilled with his sword, unafraid to kill regardless of blood color, and gore doesn’t bother him one bit. He’s an amazing troll and I’d trust him any night or day!”

“What about you Karkat Vantas,” Prakis asks, staying complete professional for this to your relief, “what are your opinions on Shrila Sirien?”

There’s a hesitation before Karkat says, “He’s fucking crazy. Like, in every definition of that word. He is enthusiastic, passionate, bizarre, and shithive fucking maggots. He has a zeal and focus when it comes to battle that is both remarkable and frightening. He doesn’t back down, even when fucking injured, the dumbass. He’s got serious bloodlust issues, it’s disturbing most of the time, and he is always overeager to fight and kill. You wanted honesty, and there it fucking is. Shrila is a fucking psycho.”

Karkat pauses before he continues, “But here’s the thing, even though I have personally seen him flip out to the extent of wearing literally nothing but the blood of his enemies, I still fucking trust him. On the battlefield, in space, wherever, it doesn’t matter. Every single one of my threshecutioners is constantly armed to the nines, including Shrila, and I still trust him unwaveringly. So yeah, he’s fucking crazy, but so is Timare, from what I’ve seen so is the Grand Pulpiteer, and it would not surprise me in the least if all of you were as well. Fuck, let’s face it, if we’re being sincerely honest here, nearly every troll in existence is some sort of wacked up nut-job. I would know, I’ve run into a lot of fucking trolls as the leader of the Imperial Army.”

There’s silence for a moment before Karkat adds on, “It’s easier to trust someone you already know is a crazy fucker then someone that you have no idea what they’re capable of.”

Prakis snorts and you smile, surprised when they say, “That has some truth to it. I appreciate your blatant honesty.”

After a slight pause, Prakis hums thoughtfully, muttering, “What else to ask.”

“Oh,” you hear educator Kosezi’s voice speak up as she asks, “How about asking how he handles conflicts with others? Because Messiahs’ know that even the family don’t always get along.”

“That is a good point,” Prakis says. “So? How have you dealt with conflicts in the past?”

“Well, before conscription there wasn’t much opportunity for peaceful solutions. Even with the Kindness having become Empress three sweeps before I was hatched, Alternia had a lot of trolls still acting on the Condesce’s rules. I really didn’t try to start fights because of Bergis, but if someone threatened me or started a fight, I would not hesitate to end it,” Shrila replies.

“And after conscription,” educator Kosezi asks.

“Hm, well, Martinet trained us all to cooperate, so he taught us all some basic conflict resolution techniques and such to try to prevent any revenge cycles or accidental deaths. I still didn’t start fights, and now I and the others had information about how to solve them with something besides death, so there was a lot less danger.” Shrila continues calmly, “Since I didn’t start any fights, I got left alone often. When there were fights, I tried to keep calm and come to a resolution. It didn’t always work, and sometimes it turned into fist fights, but we never drew weapons, and no one died or suffered grievous injury.”

After a moment, Prakis questions, “Do any of you have anything to add to what Shrila said? Any examples or such?”

“Well, not really,” Bergis speaks up first. “The only times Shrila didn’t tell me about a potential fight or whatever was when his life was in danger. And even those he told me about after he was safe. Despite his, um, enthusiasm for battle, he didn’t go out looking for fights because I asked him not to. After conscription, Martinet taught all of us how to trust our comrades, and even if it didn’t happen over day, I think that made all of us settle down some. So, conflicts aren’t something that is ever a significant issue anymore.”

“Shrila and I are in different flaysquads, so we don’t see each other often,” Timare says quietly. “When we do get together it’s usually just us, if you know what I mean.”

“I do try to teach my threshecutioners how to resolve conflicts as part of their training,” Karkat pauses before continuing, “for many reasons. And while certain trolls sometimes are more difficult to convince when it comes to cooperation, Shrila was not one of those. While I don’t expect perfection or no fights or whatever, through the sweeps, as far as conflicts within the squad, Shrila has been the least of my worries.”

You hear your family make some mumbled noises that seem like approval over that.

Then you hear what sounds like educator Gimnas asking, “How many trolls have you killed?”

Shrila doesn’t hesitate before he answers, “A hundred fifty-eight.”

You hear someone else, and you look back to all see that it’s educator Zelorn who says, “I have a question for you brother.”

You look forward as Shrila replies, “Yes?”

“How good are you at telling others no,” educator Zelorn asks.

“I,” Shrila stops and hesitates. After a moment, he says, “I don’t know.”

After another pause, Shrila says, “I mean, I’m a threshecutioner. If I’m told to go fight, I go fight, that’s what I do, that’s my job. I don’t really have to think or worry about, about yes or no, that’s already been decided for me.”

“Hey, hey, calm down,” you hear Bergis say softly, “You’re panicking.”

You bide a moment, waiting, and after a minute or so, you hear educator Zelorn say, “I apologize, I didn’t mean for that to happen. I didn’t mean commands or orders. When I asked, I meant more like how sometimes family will ask favors of each other. If you can’t say no to them, then you’d end up shouldering too much motherfucking burden, and that’s not good for you, brother.”

There’s a pause for another minute before Shrila quietly says, “I, don’t have a problem saying no to the other threshecutioners if I’m busy and they ask for a favor.”

There’s a slight pause before Shrila adds, “Haven’t really had to do it with. Um. Higher-ups. So, that could be a problem, if I’m being honest. I. Don’t have much practice. With that, I guess.”

“Thank you for answering truthfully,” educator Zelorn says. “Once again, I apologize for rattling you.”

“It’s fine,” Shrila mutters softly, “I know you didn’t mean to.”

After a slight pause, Bergis says, “I can verify that Shrila is fully capable of telling the other threshecutioners no, regardless of blood color.”

There’s another pause before you hear Karkat say, “Threshecutioners are the main arm of the Imperial Army, so we have to be ready and able to be deployed at any moment for any reason. Some of that has changed since I became the leader of the Imperial Army, but ultimately a threshecutioners’ job is not one where someone has to be concerned over saying no to higher-ups. Mostly because higher-ups only give orders. So, saying Shrila is unpracticed with that sort of situation is reasonable.”

“I see,” Prakis says like they be thoughtful over something Karkat said.

“I got a question.” You pause before asking, “What would you do if you were all getting credit for some shit as you didn’t do?”

“Huh,” Shrila pauses to seemingly think on it before saying, “Well, I guess I would try to tell the troll trying to credit me that I wasn’t the one who did it?”

“There was actually one time when something like this happened,” Karkat speaks up. “One of my lieutenants was giving him the credit for doing something, but he didn’t do whatever it was. I forget what it was, but Shrila actually did try to tell them that he didn’t do it. He was extremely embarrassed and awkward about it, and the lieutenant didn’t really believe him at first for some reason I can’t remember.”

“Oh, are you talking about one of the times that Serold accidentally injured herself and the lieutenant assumed that Shrila did it for some reason,” Bergis asks.

“Wait, wait, are you guys talking about the first time we had armed combat training with the other flaysquad members,” Shrila asks, sounding all surprised.

There’s a moment before Karkat goes muttering, “I think so.”

“Guys,” Shrila says, “You’re forgetting the rest of the story there. Yes, Serold and I were training in armed combat against each other and she accidentally hurt herself. And yes, the lieutenant came over to give me credit, but the credit they were trying to give me was about how I was doing right by my blood caste by putting her in her place and I was like, what the fuck actually.”

Karkat groan-growls and Bergis quietly says, “Oh yeah, I remember now. That’s why they refused to believe that you didn’t do it and why you were so uncomfortable.”

“I blew up on them and fired the piece of shit,” Karkat growls. “I must have forgotten the details due to unmitigated rage. Still though, a higher-up tried to give you credit for something that you didn’t do, and you tried to let them know that you didn’t do it. I’m pretty sure that still counts on some level.”

You hear someone hum before they ask, “So Shrila, how do you earn the trust of others?”

“Oh, uh,” Shrila hesitates before answering, “I’m not sure. I guess be myself? I’ve earned a lot of trust that way already. I’ve never exactly purposefully tried to earn someone’s trust. Either way, I figure that I can’t make someone trust me no matter what I try.”

You glance back to see Educator Shigin nod thoughtfully, then you look forward again as they ask, “So what did Shrila do to earn your trust?”

“Well, honestly it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing,” Bergis says. “He wasn’t like how I expected blue bloods to be, I guess. As a rust, you see and hear things that make it seem like every blue blood is a conniving liar waiting for their opportunity to stab you in the back. But Shrila, even though I was skeptical at first, was never like that. The things he does and says are blunt, if not sometimes harsh, with the honesty of it. But he was also naïve with that when we were young. He took everyone for their word because he thought they were like him. When I first tried to let him know that other trolls aren’t like that, he said he thought it was pointless and tedious to be two-faced like that. That was probably the point when I started trusting him.”

“I can’t really think of anything specific either,” Timare says. “He was very candid about everything he did and said when we spoke, we learned about each other’s mutual interests and such, then one night he did something extremely romantic and to be honest I kind of just jumped in his quadrant in the heat of the moment. I guess I might have been taking a bit of a risk doing that, but he’s never given me any reason to doubt the decision I made.”

“As strange as it sounds, I started trusting Shrila right after the first test battle his flaysquad went through,” Karkat says. “See, one of the last things I do before letting any of the flaysquads go on official business is that I go with them to have a test battle to see if they are mentally and physically ready for the chaos and harshness of real battle. It’s conducted with robots that can fight and are made to withstand violets, but that’s not exactly the point. When Shrila went through this, Bergis was in the flaysquad with him, and long story short, while going through the test battle, Shrila flips the fuck out. Highblood rage, bloodlust, whatever you want to call it. He literally tore off his clothes and coated himself with fake blood from our robot enemies.”

Karkat pauses before going on, “Now I can’t really stop the test battle once it starts, so I see this and am fucking flabbergasted, but I have other trolls to watch. The thing is though, even while going hiveshit maggots, wearing blood from the robot enemies and nothing else, Shrila didn’t attack his allies. And after all the enemies were defeated, he still didn’t attack any of his allies. Bergis had to calm him some, but those were the important things I noticed, the things that made me trust Shrila.”

There’s a slight murmur between your family before you hear subjugglator Uzdavi say, “Choose three skills you have that you feel are important to mention.”

“Uh, um,” Shrila pauses for a while, seeming to think to himself. Finally, he says, “Willingness to learn, adaptability, and following instructions.”

“I would say your three skills are honesty, trustworthiness, and loyalty,” Bergis says with a slight purr.

You hear someone hum before Timare says, “I’d say passion, creativity, and self-confidence.”

“That’s a hard one,” Karkat mutters. “If it were me, I’d say he’s a quick learner, dependable, and good at decision making.”

There’s a pause in the conversation before someone says, “Tell me a joke.”

You stop walking, Karkat and the threshers all nearly bumping into each other at your sudden halt, as you turn to see the rest of your family halted as well, all staring at educator Hinnun in surprise.

“What,” they say a bit snappishly. “It’s not like I’m telling him to tell a joke for his life. I just wanted to see what kind of humor he had, for Messiahs’ sake. My family, I’m the thespian educator. Dancing and theater ain’t something he’d be able to do without practice, but he can at least manage some kind of joke, right?”

Educator Zelorn scoffs, “With a cardinal and a systemic here, you claim it would just be to see his humor? Especially considering one is your diamond?”

Educator Hinnun growls lowly and Prakis clears their squeal pipette before saying, “Zelorn, Hinnun, please keep your flirting out of this council.”

They both glance away from each other, and after a moment, educator Hinnun mutters, “This brother could be our family. I wouldn’t do anything that would threaten my family’s life. It was just an innocent means of seeing more on his personality.”

Prakis frowns and educator Shigin mutters, “If it wasn’t said, meant, or phrased as a joke for his life, then cardinal doesn’t particularly have a prong in this. Unless it’s an unholy joke and the chances of that are slim.”

“Systemic would only have a prong in it as far as recording it if it’s a new joke,” educator Kosezi says quietly. “Whether it’s good or bad, systemic just writes it down for others to know about it.”

Prakis hums and looks at you, asking, “What do you think Gamzee?”

You freeze for a fraction of a second before you calm down and mull it over for a minute.

“Well,” you say, “he ain’t inducted or nothing, ain’t really learned anything about the church let alone what jokes are meant to never be told. Since this ain’t being a joke for his life and he’s potential family, I don’t particular see why he all would be held at responsible for something as he has no motherfucking knowledge on at. But you all want to make sure or make more even grounding, how about a little joke swapping?”

Prakis smiles widely and says, “That’s a great idea Gamzee!”

Prakis turns to educator Hinnun and asks, “You okay with that?”

“Sure,” educator Hinnun replies with a smile, “I’d love to share some jokes.”

Educator Hinnun looks at Shrila and says, “I’d like to hear yours first.”

Shrila hums shortly, then says, “Well, this one’s a little silly, but. Why was the chef embarrassed?”

“I do not know, why were they,” educator Hinnun asks.

Shrila answers with a smile, “Because they saw the salad dressing.”

Educator Hinnun snorts before laughing softly, the rest of the family all chuckling as well. After a bit of laughing, educator Hinnun says, “That was a pretty good one.”

After a pause, educator Hinnun says, “Alright, I got a good one for you as well. Why did the musician educator need a ladder?”

Shrila asks, “I don’t know, why?”

“To reach the high notes,” educator Hinnun responds, making all the family laugh heartily.

“You always tell that one,” educator Kosezi snickers. “How about, oh, I got one. How many dead wigglers does it take to paint a wall?”

After a pause where the family waits for the punchline, educator Kosezi says, “Depends on how hard you throw them.”

Your family cackles with laughter, Prakis saying, “This one’s a little older, but it’s still good. What did the femur say to the patella?”

“What did it all say, my sibling,” you ask with a grin.

Prakis smirks and gives you all a look as they say, “I kneed you.”

You snicker as other family members laugh as well. “Okay, okay,” educator Gimnas puts their prongs up, trying to stop laughing from the last joke as they say, “Doing an old one just for you, my sibling. How do you get a legislacerator down from a tree?”

Educator Gimnas grins sharply at the family for a beat before saying, “Cut the rope.”

Every family member breaks out in booming laughter, Prakis muttering through their laughter, “That’s one older than I am, Holy Mirthful Messiahs.”

“Speaking on legislacerators,” educator Shigin gasps, grinning widely, “What do legislacerators wear to court?”

“What do they motherfucking wear,” educator Gimnas asks.

“Lawsuits,” educator Shigin exclaims, making everyone cackle joyfully.

“Hey,” educator Zelorn sets up the joke, “why did the rainbow drinker consider themselves a good artist?”

“Why did they think that,” you hear Timare ask.

You turn to see them grinning and unafraid, educator Zelorn not batting a gander bulb as they give the punchline, “Because they like to draw blood.”

Your family all laughs, and you notice that so does most of Karkat’s crew. Karkat be the only one looking untouched by the hilarity. Damn, he really is a hard one to make laugh.

“Can we tell jokes too,” Timare asks, smiling.

Your family all nods with giddy excitement, Prakis encouraging, “Go ahead.”

Timare holds up their prongs and asks, “What do you call a fat psychic?”

“What do you call them,” Prakis asks.

“A four-chin teller,” Timare says cheerfully. Your family all guffaws along with the rest, Karkat still not taking part in on the hilarity.

Timare nudges Bergis, saying, “You should have a good joke too, right?”

Bergis hesitates before saying, “Yeah. What do you get from a pampered moobeast?”

Bergis pauses before saying, “Spoiled milk.”

The family and others snicker and snort, and you swear you even see Karkat scoff, which is the closest you’ve seen him to laughing.

Subjugglator Uzdavi clears her squeal pipette and says, “Wanna know how trolls are like trees?”

“How’re they similar,” educator Gimnas asks with a smirk.

“They both fall down when you hit them multiple times with an axe,” Subjugglator Uzdavi says.

The family all once again laughs loudly together at the joke. “Hey, hey, family, hey,” you say, giddy from laughter, “What’s the difference between a disheveled troll on a three-wheel device and a well-dressed troll on a two-wheel device?”

Your family grins at you in excited suspense, and you say, “Attire.”

Subjugglator Uzdavi bumps into you all gentle cordial as you all laugh. You look over to see Karkat ain’t laughing though and urge him, “Come on Martinet, lay down a motherfucking joke.”

Karkat hesitates, seeming a bit unnerved, before he sighs and flatly says, “Fine. What’s it like to be kissed by a rainbow drinker?”

“Damn, I dunno, what is it like,” you ask.

“It’s a pain in the neck,” Karkat says dryly, smirking some, and everyone falls into loud laughter, yourself being to double over and gasp for breath.

There’s a long moment of laughing and various failed attempts to gain composure, some of you muttering the various punchlines you all just heard before laughing all over again. You are bubbly with joy and delight when Timare mutters, “Anyone smell that?”

“Whoa wait what,” Karkat says, and you can practically hear his fear getting all rankled sudden and sharp. “You smell ghosts you creepy psionic, what was it they said or whatever?”

Timare hums like they are dissatisfied, “It was too faint and fleeting to tell really. A vague impression of prey or something similar? Definitely something running. Either way, whatever it was, it’s gone now.”

There’s a beat of silence, when suddenly Bergis tackles educator Shigin to the ground, but before anyone can all react to that, the air where they were just standing explodes, everyone flinching and startling away in conjunction as they draw their weapons.

“Psionics are attacking,” Bergis shouts.

Chapter Text

“Psionics are attacking,” Bergis shouts before quickly getting off educator Shigin. Bergis offers a prong, educator Shigin takes it and Bergis helps them stand as he goes on high-strung and talking rapidly, “I’m sorry, fuck, are you okay? Please, whatever you think of me because of that, don’t let it reflect on Shrila. He wants this a whole fucking lot, and I sensed the psionics about to hit you-”

“Bergis, focus,” Karkat shouts, voice laced with a growl and sickle drawn, “You can apologize when we’re not dead. Find out where that exploding psionic attack came from.”

“Right, fuck,” Bergis nods and closes his gander bulbs, pressing a prong to his temple.

Your clubs be already all motherfuckin out and ready for killing some motherfuckers, and when you turn to your family, you be to see that they all have weapons drawn and at the ready as well. Prakis with their brass juggling rings, subjugglator Uzdavi with her chainsaw; though you note she ain’t got it or the flames turned on yet. Educator Kosezi with her juggling knives, educator Gimnas with a hatchet, educator Shigin taking out bowling pins, educator Hinnun tightly gripping unlit fireworks, and educator Zelorn having a stick with a ribbon on it.

“Family be at careful,” you say, voice pitching between loud snarling growls and soft gentle whispers with each sentence, as it is wont to do without your control at times when your rage all boils your blood fierce. “We ain’t wanting to motherfucking harm those motherfuckers as are on our side. Stay with them, for we know not the force what is about to all come at us. I will go and motherfucking slaughter the bitch ass motherfucker with explosive psionics.”

They all nod at you, and that’s when you hear Bergis say, “The psionic power matching the explosion is far off to the left.”

That’s all you needed to motherfucking hear.

You dip into the rage as is boiling under your skin, you ain’t wanting to go into a blind rage, but you can utilize this anger for holy rage. Strength rushes all in with the anger, and you snarl loudly as you be to all flicker-stride in the direction which Bergis had said psionics were. Once away from your group, you send your chucklevoodoos out in front of you in a wave, in part to try for locating where exact the psionics be and in part to scare them motherfucking heretic pieces of shit as you are about to subjugglate. Your ‘voodoos do all catch the tingle of a couple of psionics after a bit and you go towards them, making all sure that you focus your ‘voodoos mostly on them psionics so as they be powerless. You all make it quick to the location of the psionic trolls as you are surely tormenting. When you sense them to be close enough, you flicker-stride around to be behind the closest one, swinging your clubs and making their pan all crack and cave in. Yellow blood spatters, getting all on your face and shirt some, and you feel the panic of the other trolls as are nearby. There’s still another yellow with two pairs of horns, one set as point up and another set as point down. However, some green bloods all be blocking your path; an olive with one horn straight up and one that goes up shortly before bending off to the side, a jade with horns that both go up then bend off in opposite directions, and a teal with horns that go straight up. Most who have drawn weapons and are standing as if ready to fight despite the fear you feel off them.

It’s your motherfucking misfortune that those be the bloods that are as more resistant to your ‘voodoos, but for the time being you focus your ‘voodoos mostly on the yellow to ensure they don’t be getting in the way. The others ain’t no true fucking worry on you, even them all attacking at once should be not much motherfucking issue you figure. You are a motherfucking subjugglator and you sure know how to subjugglate proper. You roar, baring your fangs full threat at these motherfuckers, twirling your clubs in your prongs as you start stomping your feet and sending out pulses of fear to the beat of your stomping. It’s a bit hard to both focus on the yellow and send pulses of fear, but you do all manage it. The midbloods, resistance as they might all have, are still affected by the fear enough that they be stiff. You thump one of your clubs against the ground occasionally, getting a hold of the rhythm of your song and building it up as they tensely watch you, their pump biscuits surely racing in their terror. Once you got the start of a good motherfucking song started up, they be caught in your song and fear, and you scream out a honk and run towards the closest one, the jade. They jerkily raise their spear, trying to go fending or fighting but not quite able to do at so. As you swing your clubs at the jade, the olive manages to duck in and make a hit on your side with their dagger.

You snarl, stepping and turning away on instinct, and even you can feel the thrum of your ‘voodoos like the most bitching bassline. You ain’t wasting your time, not even hardly to be caring for the extent of your wound, as you do a full spin instead of just a turn, using the momentum from that to all swing with force at the olive. The olive yelps as they roll away in a dodge, your clubs whooshing through the air, but while they all escape your clubs by a narrow amount and get a decent amount of ground away from you, they don’t land solid on their strut pods proper. They end up all on their ass and you flicker-stride over to exploit their fumble. You be behind them and them ain’t even on their struts, and even as they see you at the last second, they barely manage to duck again. But they don’t duck enough in time and your clubs all meet at their straight up horn. They howl in pain as their horn comes off with a crack and snap. You go to make another spin for the finishing blow, the pace of the song set into your bones and guiding your movements, but you all hear a wrathful screech and sense someone all coming in from the other side.

You change your death blow into a block, knocking away the jade’s spear with a clack. The olive is still screaming and sobbing from pain as the jade comes at you with ferocity. They got the ferocity but they letting their anger make their attacks wild as they scream wordless rage at you. They be in blind rage for all that you can be telling. You knock away their attacks with your clubs, each hit clacking and being all added into your song as you try to stay out of range, waiting for an opening while all honking quietly. When there be a very slight pause in their attacks, you take the chance as to flicker-stride totally out of their range. However, all suddenly your body stiffens as electricity sparks through your whole motherfucking self, the song coming to a screeching halt as the pain is reaching right down to your soul. You think yourself to be cursing up a storm, yet you don't hear it, your horns feel like they be motherfucking splitting all both from the inside and outside at the same time, your pan feeling like it’s being fucking shattered and scrambled worse than it’s ever been before, dismay fluid pricking at your gander bulbs and spittle be foaming out your talk blaster. Your body all to be cramping in a rotten motherfucking mock of synchronization. You feel like you’re fit to motherfucking die soon if it ain’t stopping.

Just as you think that, it cuts off and you collapse to the ground. Might be a miracle as you don’t pass the fuck out from that shit. For all you think your cartilaginous nub be leaking blood from the impact of all falling, you hardly care as you be gasping and reeling. Your pan is scattered and spinning, you feel like you all just had a major motherfucking workout ‘cause all your self wants for collapsing, muscles aching with phantom pain to the pulse of your rapid pump biscuit. You put your clubs away and all get your prongs up under you to push yourself up slightly, arms shaking as blood drips down your face and planting the balls of your strut pods on the ground, trying to get all prepared for the movement what you know you’ll have to be doing despite the state of you. Ain’t no time for sitting and recovering when all in a fight. You sense someone or something coming at you and it’s their misfortune what they think they got some advantage. You may have lost the song of battle, your husk may be pleading for rest, but your soul is on fire with holy rage and you won’t be stopping ‘till the Handmaid whisks you or your opponent off to their deaths. You’ll well see to it that the heretics be the ones as drop like motherfucking flies. You snarl and push on the little bit of footing as you have, standing a bit jerkily, fingers twitching without your command and knees wanting for to buckle as you quickly turn to face the motherfucker as is trying for attacking you.

It’s the jade, and you flicker-stride close to them just ‘cause you can, and now all up in front of their face, you grab their horns as do so resemble handles. You roar a honk that tears painfully at your squeal pipette, ignoring their screams as you quickly twist and pull at their neck, using all your force to rip their motherfucking nugbone off their shoulders, blood splattering all around. Once their nugbone is off, their body collapses and you slam their nugbone to the ground as hard as you can. You pant, looking around once, the first thing you see be the olive and Karkat staring at you, what apparent face off all having stalled. Karkat snaps out of it soon after you look at them both, darting forward and slicing the olive’s unguarded neck, quick and efficient. They fall to the ground, bleeding out in front of Karkat. Karkat turns his nugbone and you stare at him for a moment, his blade covered in teal and olive blood. It be certain as most your motherfuckin upper body is having jade, yellow, and some at your own purple blood all over on your clothes, weapons, and skin.

You feel psionic sparks shock through your body shortly. Once they’re gone, you go to spin around, reminded of the yellow from earlier and being to realize you must have stopped focusing your ‘voodoos at them when all you were shocked by whatever the motherfuck did that at you. But before you can do more than that, you are lifted in the air, all quickly and hastily thrown off in the distance. You hear Karkat cussing rapidly and figure he must've had the same shit happen to him.

You go quite a motherfucking way before gravity all takes its toll and you ain’t soaring for any motherfucking longer. You tuck and roll on automatic, all landing on your strut pods once you have slowed down. You twirl around, starting to walk back the way you were thrown from, drawing your clubs.

You halt at a sudden wonder and concern if Karkat landed as well as you did. You be trained as to fall from heights and come out with little injuries, Karkat ain’t. You turn to look and see Karkat sitting up, rubbing his nugbone and muttering, “Fucking hell, that was goddamn terrible. Everything hurts.”

He’s conscious and bloodied, scrapes and dirt on him from his landing, but don’t seem to be deadly bleeding nor to have broken anything major or serious. He looks at you and you turn again, snarling as you do what voice pitching once again, “Motherfucking coward ass piece of shit heretic! Get back here and face me direct!”

“Hey, don’t go walking off! Getting lost is not on my itinerary,” Karkat snaps.

You spin and growl at him, “Well having some bitch ass heretic motherfucking sinners attack my motherfucking family ain’t done been on mine!”

Karkat briefly flashes you his teeth before taking a breath and saying, “I know. But storming off in anger is not a good idea when we have no idea if there are other enemies in the area.”

You hesitate before looking up and shouting to try to get out some of your frustration. After shouting, you look at Karkat, still feeling most your anger and frustration. You try to be calm, yet you all speak with a low growl as you ask, “Why you always got to make so much sense?”

You spin around once again and shout, “Motherfuck!”

Then you flicker-stride to the nearest tree and assail the bark with your clubs, bashing out your anger with snarls and growling shouts of anger. Once you’ve all bashed a few nice sized dents in the bark, you stand and catch your breath, and after a minute or two, you manage to feel like you’re calm enough to not do nothing stupid.

You put your clubs away, turning around and asking at Karkat, “So what’s the plan?”

Karkat seems to glance you over all skeptical before he ejects a phone from his ‘dex and says, “I can contact my flaysquad and-”

Karkat pauses and trails off with a frown, tapping on his phone with more force, eventually muttering at himself, “What the fuck, what’s wrong with this thing?”

His intensity at tapping on the buttons of the phone increases in frustrated urgency and you look through your own ‘dex, reaching out at the card as has the phone on it and grabbing it when it falls out. You try to get this one to all work, but you ain’t having no luck neither.

“Fuck,” Karkat shouts, startling you from your frowned focus on the phone. He’s pacing in small circles, roughing up his hair with one prong while he gesticulates wildly with the other, “That must be why the fucker shocked us for like three seconds, goddamn it! All our electronic shit is fucking fried now, so we can’t get a hold of my flaysquad or anyone else.”

Karkat growl-shouts, and you can see his gander bulbs be red as he screams, “What the fuck even was that! Why the fuck did those assholes fucking attack us? Who the fuck were those assholes? Is this a fucking base camp for some upstart hoofbeastmanure rebellion? I can’t even fucking tell Feferi because I don’t have enough fucking information and she’ll flip the fuck out, insisting that the Imperial Army stops whatever the fuck is happening on this planet, and I don’t even fucking know what planet this is! What the fuck actually is even going on!”

“I ain’t got me a single motherfucking clue on of about that,” you say. Karkat turns to stare at you, gander bulbs red and snarl on his face, but you all continue unbothered by those things, “My family will be to make sure as we find out though. Ain’t no heretic motherfuckers gonna attack the family without getting their motherfucking dues well paid, you feel me?”

Karkat stares, breathing deep for a second, gander blubs slowly going back to yellow as he says, “You realize I can’t keep quiet on this forever. I’ll have to eventually let Feferi know, especially if this is the start of a rebellion.”

“Tell her as you see fit,” you say calm. “Rebellion or not, my family will find and snuff every single one of these motherfuckers out. She ain’t got to lift a motherfucking fin in on this.”

Karkat breathes deep, holds it, then lets it out. Now that you be all calm and no longer in heat of battle, you notice many motherfucking things. The sore aching pains and tiredness in your body, and more important, the sky that be looking to changing lighter by tiny increments. Which all tells you what the sun is to be rising soon.

“Okay,” he says after a pause. “Sounds fucking fair to me. Glad we figured that out.”

Then Karkat starts all walking in the direction which you were thrown from and you speak up, “Kin, I all think it’s to be better for us to find shelter now and wait ‘till night for finding our way back.”

Karkat looks at you as he snarls, “Did I fucking ask for the opinion of a malformed clown husk? No, no I fucking didn’t. Plus, what the fuck do you think I’m doing? The only shelter that either of us know of is the goddamn ship you ignorant shit sponge.”

You huff out your cartilaginous nub, all being to unaffected by his sudden bad attitude. You think you’ve all gotten used to him being easy to rile and anger, and you find you are glad of it. Instead of escalating, you all calmly reply, “I think you’re fixing to get all salty and stubborn, fixing to be walking on off into the motherfuckin sunrise like that’s to be of help to anything what we are all current dealing with.”

“We need to get back to my ship and the others,” Karkat snaps harsh and you begin to think he be not all saying something direct at you. “Excuse fucking me for trying to do that, you pan-smashed festering sore.”

You sigh and placatingly say, “Both of us motherfucking know what I’m to being laying down at you makes all kinds of sense kin. We ain’t so close as to reach that there ship of yours before sunrise. Now ain’t particular being the time as is good for all them arguments and such you be throwing out.”

“You can stay here, I’m moving my damn strut pods and walking,” Karkat growls with what commanding tone as still motherfucking bothers you to the core. He does all motherfucking know by now that it ain’t like you are like one of his little soldiers that he can tell all what to do.

“You be getting so salty, as like you got brine in your blood and soul, but you ain’t no motherfucking fish kin. Need to get your chill on and cut off the salt,” you hiss softly, speaking in the tone as you used to scold your younger family when all you all had the need for it. You see his face go all at scowling in distaste. You are honest somewhat satisfied by that, thinking as it’s good that you got a tone as he dislikes. Fair’s motherfucking fair after all.

It ain’t all long before Karkat has rebuttal, all fiercely pointing in what direction as you were thrown from as he shouts, “Members of my flaysquads are out there, trolls that I have a responsibility and duty to protect. All of them are facing against who knows how many enemies, and I won’t motherfucking stop until I can be certain that they are okay.”

You pause, a bit stunned that he all is that motherfucking dedicated to his soldiers. How do he even find solace in sending them all out and about in space where they could easy die without him knowing if he is all that protective in of them? Then again, you got plenty of protectiveness of your family and while you once had a tough time being all okay with it, you managed to make terms with it before you got made into a minister. You then all briefly remember what which you’ve been to see of Karkat and his various threshers interacting, how they all support and tease each other, how at motherfucking ease they be with each other. That’s when you realize that other trolls ain’t being like that at all. When other trolls interact at those as aren’t quadrants, they normal be all disinterested and not the least bit invested. Karkat and his threshers don’t seem like that way. You never all thought of it strange until now because you are being used to your family and their interactions. Now that you have come to this realization, the way Karkat and his threshers treat each other reminds you of your family.

You wonder if he ever had any which told him things as to ease his concern on those he cares for platonically. Probably not with all them other trolls never being to be caring to do such a thing, perhaps even as if he had those who did care at him romantic they never knew on of how to help with such a thing. You yourself have never heard of trolls being caring platonic at each other outside of the church and family until right motherfuckin now.

Your chest aches with tight pain as if something be strangling your pump biscuit, and you all understand what be going on now.

You have and still do feel that painful fear of loss, the worry on of those as you care most platonically for, so you speak honest and gentle at him from that feeling, “You all proper taught them to fight and survive Karkat. And if you taught them the same as the ones you’re teaching now, you taught them damn motherfucking well. They can all manage on their own, I am absolute certain on of that. They will be all fine, and you should be knowing at that best, seeing as you are all the one as taught them so well. But my kin, if we don’t be finding a way to get out of this light as is coming upon us, we fucking won’t.”

Karkat is looking at you, seeming to be trying to find contention with all what you’re saying, and you smile softly as you continue, “You got thinking on that those as what you’re getting concern on about will want of you to die in the unfunny harshness and heat of light while in hopeless search of them? They all be expecting at that you will take care of your own motherfucking self as well, you know. I don’t be doubting for a single motherfucking second that they want you all safe just as you want the same for them. I’d go all at betting that they certain be thinking right now abouts that you all are to have been finding some place as is safe for the day.”

Karkat frowns and looks away, so you sigh soft and patient, adding all on, “Listen my kin, even this here dumb motherfucker is all being knowing at when it’s done time to call quits and hide for the day. So, let the both of us all get some place as is safe before the sun rises much further.”

Karkat sighs like defeat, shoulder slumping as he mutters, “Yeah. Yeah, okay, fine. You’re right.”

You slight frown, uncertain why all you feel upset seeing him all like this, but then he glances at you, being snarky as he says, “Formal congratulations and all that, I’m certain it’s a rare and important moment in your life for you to be completely right on something for once, and I would be more enthusiastic about it for you if we knew somewhere nearby to find shelter before sunrise.”

You huff out a bit in laughter, feeling like things be a bit nearer to back to normal if he’s still willing to all get snarky at you, then you hum to yourself as you look around for something as might look promising as far as shelter. You spot a mountain, or some shit as looks similar, and wonder aloud at Karkat while pointing, “You think there could be something as would work? Like a cave or some shit?”

“The only way to know is to go there,” Karkat replies. Then he asks at you, “How do we make sure we don’t get lost?”

You move to walk and wince when your side lights up with pain. You decide to be ignoring it for now, figuring that you can worry on it if you all start at getting dizzy. You walk to a tree and dig your claws in the bark before making four long gouges in the bark. You draw your prong away and smile at Karkat, who rolls his gander bulbs and mutters, “I guess that works.”

You and Karkat walk in silence, you are using your claws and he be using his sickle blade, for to mark the bark of the trees. Soon enough, you arrive at the small mountain-like thing, and you smile when you see that there be a cave in the cliffside.

“Praise motherfucking Messiahs,” you say, walking up to the cave and peering in. The cave all seems to be empty, nothing as appears dangerous in it, and it all seems to be large enough for you both to be sleeping with a little extra space to spare. Plus, it’s all being to be facing away from the sunrise and shit, so you and him should be all motherfucking golden.

Karkat walks up beside you, pausing before he asks, “So what are we going to do about blocking the sun from getting to us when it sets?”

You blink and turn to look at him, speaking your thoughts aloud, “Shit kin, I didn’t even think to be thinking on about that.”

You stand and continue, “It’s good that you all are being here with me. I’d a burnt straight motherfuckin up in my sleep otherwise.”

Karkat scoffs, “I would have burned first just because I’m a fucking stubborn ass shit at the worst goddamn times.”

You chuckle softly, “Couple of burning fools we is without each other.”

When you all actually get to be hearing what you motherfucking just said, you sputter at your own words, your face and auricular shells being to get the feeling as like they’re burning quick. You had not at all meant to say such a thing as that, which sounded so like a solicitation. You ain’t soliciting at Karkat. You ain’t in the least.

“Sorry,” you mumble all self-conscious.

Karkat laughs at you rough and dry, “Do you think I’m not used to you blundering around like an idiot by now?”

You grumble out a noise, somehow feeling all even more embarrassed by what he said. You didn’t think you all accidental flirted with him so often as for him to be not minding in the least about it. In fact, you can only remember hearing yourself flirt at him like a few motherfucking times. Are you doing or saying shit as he sees to be flirting, yet not knowing you all are doing it? You still figure you could get quadrants if you all tried, but in honesty, sometimes you ain’t knowing all that much about which signals and such count as flirting to other trolls. But it could be maybe he meant general blunders? You ain’t certain and either way you feel all mortified of it.

You’re distracted from your thinking when you catch sight of a large stone as seems like it should fit over the entrance of the cave. You walk over to where it is nearby the cave and say, “Think I all found something as should help our dilemma.”

“Okay that is almost creepy levels of convenient,” Karkat mutters. “Like, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad about it, but the well-located coincidence makes me suspicious, especially given that we were just attacked.”

You snort through your cartilaginous nub and shake your nugbone slightly as you walk around and try to find a way to grab onto the rock.

“Kin, I ain’t of kind to question Messiahs given fortune. Don’t all worry too much on about it. Just go all to scuttling your little red ass into what cave so I can all cover the entrance with this,” you say with an easy smile.

Karkat groans softly and mumbles, “Yeah maybe the religious explanation works for you, but I’m not faithful and I’ve been fighting for entirely too long not to see this as a potential trap. Anyhow, how do you plan to get inside if you’re the one blocking the entrance?”

“Worry not,” you say, gripping onto the rock, being to waiting for Karkat to get into the cave before you lift it, “I all got a motherfucking plan. Trust in at me.”

Karkat huffs in a way that makes you think he is expecting your plan to go awry or for it to be all half-baked, but that he’s all putting up with it for now. You all give a look at Karkat, hoping he can all tell that you are urging him to be hurrying into the cave already. He hisses softly, almost like a protest, before going in the cave.

You ain’t yourself knowing if your plan will all motherfucking work, so you ain’t being to deny that he may be fucking right in his thinking. For now, though, you are going to go about what plan you have and not worry on about if it doesn’t work as you plan. If time happens as you need to rethink your planning, you honest believe and trust that Karkat will all up and have your back with planning something as will work.

You make sure you have a firm grip on the rock before lifting it up with a grunt. The wound on your side stretches painfully, but you put it off and walk to the front of the cave, turning around so that your back is facing the entrance and walking backwards.

“Okay what the fuck,” Karkat says, “Are you a genius or an idiot? I honestly can’t figure it out.”

You laugh slightly, a bit out of breath and careful not to lose your grip on the rock, saying, “Could be all both at the same time kin.”

Karkat grunts like in disbelief and you carefully set down the rock once you’re fully in the cave.

“Be careful,” Karkat says softly, surprising you a little bit, “I don’t think I’m strong enough to be able to help if you get your fingers stuck under that.”

Your thorax goes all fuzzy and warm at how he be worrying on at you. You find yourself to be smiling softly with the feeling, but then you try to push it all down, reminding yourself that you don’t have romantic feelings for Karkat. Once on the ground, you pull the rock as flush against the entrance of the cave as you all can. You hiss as the wound on your side pulls really motherfucking painfully, and Karkat makes saying, “Make sure that we can actually get back out once the sun sets.”

You laugh once loudly, stopping your pulling because the rock all stopped budging. You let go of the rock and pant as you say, “Chill kin, I got us and the rock all settled in a friendly-like agreement. Come on, check this shit the motherfuck out.”

Karkat comes over and inspects what job you all did, which is a pretty damn good job, if you all motherfucking say at so yourself. The rock ain’t quite a perfect fit in front of the entrance, there be a few cracks where some light all is trying to leak in through, but that bit of looseness should make it easy enough to get out of the way come night, you figure.

“All right,” Karkat says with tone as if admitting you did a decent job. You smirk slightly as he pulls something out of his ‘dex and goes about shoving dark pieces of cloth in the cracks.

“There, that should keep us completely safe from the sun,” Karkat says seemingly to himself, sounding satisfied and relieved.

You turn around, all remembering your pile of horns as you got in your ‘dex. You wonder if Karkat all has anything to sleep at in. You are all used to sleeping out of sopor, but you figure he ain’t. Ain’t no knowing unless you ask, so you do, “You got something as you could sleep in, kin?”

“No, I don’t,” Karkat sighs with aggression. “I don’t particularly carry around recuperacoons or piles of shit, it would be a waste of space normally. But would you look at fucking this, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the universe decided to use what should be common goddamn practice to fuck me over.”

Karkat groans and says, “I’ll just sleep on the ground as far away from you as possible.”

You hesitate slightly before pulling out your ‘dex and grabbing the card as has your horns on it. The pile falls out in front of you with a cacophony as you mutter, “I still got these. You could sleep on them if you want.”

“Gamzee, I’m not going to take your improvised sleeping pile from you,” Karkat says. “I won’t do that to you. I am unprepared, and you shouldn’t suffer because of that.”

You scratch the back of your nugbone lightly, feeling uncomfortable and refusing to face Karkat as you say, “I’m used to sleeping without sopor, so I should be all fine. You ain’t kin, and trust me, having some sort of pile all does make it easier to deal with.”

“Wait a fucking second,” Karkat says and you tense up, not wanting to explain why you are used to sleeping out of sopor. “Are you fucking bleeding?”

You blink, caught off guard, then you turn slightly to look as you lift your shirt slightly, touching the sliced flesh with your other prong, muttering a small, “huh,” in surprise as fresh blood does all come off on your fingers.

“Look at that,” you mutter, looking at the wound as is all bleeding. It looks as if part of it had begun to clot before you went and accidentally pulled at it, but you can’t tell if it’s bound to get infected or anything. “I guess I am still bleeding. Wonder all how deep this be anyway.”

“What the fuck?”

You look up to Karkat at his shout. He looks mighty pissed as he stares at your wound, asking, “Just how long are you planning to simply stand there and bleed?”

You shrug and reply, “I ain’t feeling dizzy from blood loss. I ain’t all concerned on about it.”

Karkat pinches the bridge of his cartilaginous nub, noting as it’s a gesture as he seems to do frequent around you, and he says, “You’re a fucking idiot. You’re supposed to prevent things like blood loss, not wait for the adverse side effects. Plus, the trolls we fought could have had poisoned weapons.”

You drop your shirt and Karkat glares at you, looking you up and down before all but demanding, “What other injuries do you have?”

“Uh,” you glance away, shrugging, “Hit my cartilaginous nub on the ground I guess. But that done ain’t hurt in a while and is no longer bleeding.”

Karkat sighs and says, “Plus that teal shocked you with that stun gun, so that probably made some nasty marks on your back.”

“Is that where all that shock came from,” you ask, scowling slight as your anger all returns the slightest bit. That shit really fucking hurt.

“Yeah, good thing I got to you when I did, or else they might have shocked you to death,” Karkat says. “I killed them while they had their weapon on you and stopped them from doing that.”

“Well, all thanks to you kin,” you say with a smile.

Karkat gestures a prong toward you and sarcastic asks, “How about you thank me by not letting yourself get goddamn septic shock? If nothing else, at least treat that wound on your side.”

You blink and after a moment, you hesitate to reply, elongating your words in a bit of guilty embarrassment, “I would.”

You trail off, looking away as you recall Subjugglator Uzdavi tried to tell you as you should know how to fix up your own injuries while she was training you, but you had opted out because you were embarrassed about how little you knew, and didn’t want to admit at it. Karkat asks, “You do know how to, right?”

You don’t look at him or reply, and eventually Karkat takes a deep breath. “Okay,” Karkat says as he exhales. “Okay, that’s fine. That is, it’s, I maybe should have expected that slightly, whatever, not important right now. I know how to treat wounds and I always carry a medical kit just in case.”

There’s a pause before Karkat asks, “Would you let me treat your wounds? Are you okay with me doing that?”

Your face and auricular shells burn sudden as your thorax all has a tight feeling. What the fuck even is this motherfucking feeling, goddamn you want it to go fuck off. It’s almost like embarrassment all tenfold at your soul and body. Or something as is slightly similar to embarrassment and all not the least bit the same in the same breath.

You swallow, ignoring your own motherfucking weird ass self, and reply all quietly, “Sure.”

“Okay,” Karkat says. After another pause, Karkat says, “Sit down and take off your shirt. I’m going to deal with that side wound first.”

You push off the wave of self-consciousness over taking off your shirt. You need to be doing this for your own motherfucking health, no more. Ain’t nothing more to this. You don’t need to worry about how you be to looking. You pull off your shirt, quickly balling it up in your prongs before sitting, avoiding looking at Karkat, not wanting to know what face he all makes seeing your thin frame. You be healthy weight and such now, but you be scrawny still. All length and lean muscles with no girth nor sturdiness. You don’t look emaciated, as you once did when you were six, but it seems as if no matter how much you eat, you can never manage to eat enough to be looking less like a stick. Like your body is being to be stuck on staying looking as if you are malnourished because that’s what it’s used to. Least that’s all being at your opinion and thinking on of it. The one time you asked your family why that was being, they said it was just the build as you were made to have, and all while your bones ain’t visible in places as they ain’t meant to be naturally visible as they once were, you be disliking the slenderness for the reminder it gives at you. One what stings like salt in the deep wound on your soul.

Karkat sits down on his knees at your side and you glance at him to see a bunch of doctorturer tools in his lap. He grabs a bottle of liquid and a cloth, pausing to look up at you.

“This is going to sting some,” Karkat warns firmly, “But it will make sure you don’t get an infection.”

He focuses back on your wound and you look the other way as Karkat continues, “I don’t have anything that would help with poison though, so let’s hope they weren’t smart enough to use any.”

You grip your shirt and hiss when your flesh burns raw from whatever Karkat be using on you.

“Or maybe since you’re faithful, you could pray or whatever,” Karkat says, distracting you slight.

You huff slightly with a bit of laughter, caught off guard by him making that suggestion. Even as respectful as he is with the faithful sometimes, you never expected him to offer advice such as that. Your thorax clenches again, and you still don’t know why all it is fucking doing that. You focus on what Karkat be doing to get your pan off the weird feelings in you, noting that after the first shock of pain, you adapted to it all easy. Karkat seems to finish with what liquid because he all stops, and you hear him shuffling things around.

After a pause, Karkat mutters, “I’m not sure if this needs to be stitched. For now, I think something to hold it together should work. At least until an actual mediculler can look at it.”

You hum in lack of reply. You are just glad he isn’t going to try to stitch you up right here and now. You ain’t got a clue if he has things for that, but you remember the pain of your face getting stitched up after you got those scratches on your face. You needed bindings to hold you as well as something to keep you from biting the motherfuckers as were trying to help. Sure, you were all still majorly blind raging at the time and what pain certain didn’t help get your rage dulled, but you figure either way that Karkat, for all he may be strong and fast and smart, would not come out all well.

Karkat puts one prong on your side, and you jolt from the sudden heat. “Fuck, sorry,” Karkat says, pulling back his prong. “I forgot about the temperature difference.”

“It’s alright,” you mutter. “You can’t be motherfucking helping it. You are near as hot as your temper though, goddamn.”

“Oh, fuck you,” Karkat snaps with no heat to it.

After a slight pause, Karkat asks, “Since you’re cold as fuck to me, would that make you a clown-sicle?”

You burst out in laughter, but it pulls on your wound and you gasp, “Ow, ow, fuck, goddamn.”

You hear laughter in Karkat’s voice as he says, “Stop fucking laughing idiot.”

You keep laughing and make quiet noises of pain, Karkat mock-growling, “Oh, shut up you. You’re going to make yourself bleed all over again. Don’t destroy my hard work.”

“Could make you a laughsassin just yet kin,” you say, holding back your preemptive laughter. Got to wait for the motherfuckin punchline before you laugh.

“What,” Karkat asks, sounding caught off guard, “What the hell?”

“You near killing me with my own motherfucking laughter after all,” you barely manage to get out before chuckling at yourself over the in-faith joke.

Karkat snorts and chuckles under his breath, “You’re so fucking weird.”

“Ow, ow, worth it, the joke was so motherfucking worth it,” you mutter, grinning widely at the fact that you made Karkat laugh. It feels fucking good, warming up your cheeks and making your thorax feeling all light.

You laugh and gasp, pain and laughter making dismay fluid gather in your gander bulbs. Karkat bats at your shoulders and chest, still laughing softly as he tries to scold you, “Would you fucking quit it, you chucklefuck? I need to fix you up, dumb ass, stop pulling at your wound goddamn it!”

With him still laughing and near playfully batting at you so ineffectively, you can’t help but laugh more. Karkat shoves you slightly then pinches your grub scar slight, like a reprimand, and you jump with a squeak, turning to look at him. You are winded from jollity and pain both, and Karkat is grinning lopsidedly, face tinted faint red as he still chuckles under his breath. He meets your gander bulbs and you freeze at how close his face is to yours, your breath catching.

In that moment, in that single fleeting moment, you suddenly feel something incredibly intense. All slamming into your pan like a slap of motherfuckin emotion what you can’t pin down the meaning of, before both you and he turn away from each other. Your pan reels slightly, baffled, and awash with trying to comprehend what just happened.

Karkat clears his squeal pipette and says, “I’ll finish this up now.”

You don’t reply, not all wanting to deal with the weird feeling from him being so close. It’s, it’s something motherfucking unknown to you, strange and new, you ain’t know what it is or what to all do with it. He uses something to pull the skin of your wound together and you grunt, forcing yourself to stay still as he smooths it down, making sure it stays on. He repeats this a few times, pulling back and apparent all grabbing something before carefully spreading gel over your wound. You ain’t got a clue what the gel is or nothing, but you figure Karkat knows all what he’s doing.

After he finishes with that, you glance to see him place gauze over it and tape the gauze down. He sits back and says, “We should probably wrap it up because it’s in a spot where it’ll get tugged a lot.”

“Okay,” you say, looking away again, fidgeting with your shirt in your prongs.

You sit still and keep your arms out of Karkat’s way as he wraps up your side. He does it quick and neat, so it’s not all long before Karkat is done. “Okay, let me see how bad your back is,” Karkat says.

You hesitate, then shuffle and turn your back slightly towards Karkat. After a second, Karkat says, “It’s not that bad. Just some bruising and minor punctures that have started to scab over. I should probably still clean it and stuff to make sure you don’t get an infection.”

You all glance back so you can see Karkat. He is holding that liquid again and you brace yourself as he leans forward, your flesh stinging as he carefully cleans out your sore flesh. Since these ones be small, he doesn’t spend nearly as much time on them, he quickly moves on to putting that gel over them, then finishes by taping gauze over them. Karkat moves back and announces, “There, now you probably won’t die, congratulations.”

You scoff and pull your shirt on, tugging it down to make sure it’s on all the way. You’re still covered in blood, and you really all should clean off your makeup for the day. You frown slightly because you won’t all do that with Karkat here. So, you turn to Karkat, saying, “Time to be sleeping kin.”

Karkat glares at you and you say, “I do indeed insist that you sleep in the pile, but if you all insist on not wanting to make me go without, we could all share. It’s a big motherfucking pile after all.”

Karkat goes all red to the tips of his auricular shells and hisses out, “What the fuck, how can you casually ask if I want to sleep in a pile with you? Seriously, you get embarrassed over saying something about us burning, but this you can just nonchalantly talk about? I genuinely don’t fucking understand you Gamzee.”

Your face all gets to heating up and you shrug slightly as you look away, “I just all was trying to come up with a compromise.”

Motherfuck you didn’t even think on it like that. How many motherfucking times are you going to be accidently hitting on Karkat?

Karkat sighs and says, “I didn’t mean to make you feel like shit for offering. I was just surprised, okay. I appreciate the gesture.”

You nod and stay not looking at Karkat. After a pause in the conversation, Karkat mumbles, “I’m fucking tired and sore; I want to sleep. So, if you’re okay with it, I am too.”

You look at Karkat, feeling flustered and lost in your own motherfucking emotions on the matter now that Karkat all pointed it out, but Karkat all being able to sleep be more important than your emotional confusion.

“It’s fine Karkat,” you say.

After looking at each other in awkward silence for a moment, you walk over to the pile and crawl onto it. The horns squeal and complain as you get on, and you lay down without much a care for finding a comfortable position. Ain’t likely to be happening any which ways, so ain’t much point at trying in the first motherfuckin place. You hear more horns, and all assume Karkat is getting on as well. He seems to be getting on the opposite side from you, as far from you as he can be managing. He lays down and you can’t stop all thinking about what he said earlier.

You’re sleeping on a pile with Karkat. You asked Karkat to sleep on a pile with you.

“Good morning Gamzee,” Karkat says quietly.

Your pump biscuit skips and leaps into your squeal pipette for reasons all unknown to you.

“Morning Karkat,” you mutter back.

Chapter Text

You wake slowly, pan all to be sluggish and syrupy for a few moments. You grumble and shift blearily, and horns all protest real loud in your auricular sponge clots, causing you to all be jolting hard enough as to tumble off the whole pile of the motherfuckers, causing a series of honks as you fall. You land on your face and groan into the dirt, feeling sore spots from the horns as were jabbing at into you. Before it was too motherfucking soft and now it’s all to be too motherfucking hard. You just can’t all catch a break with your sleeping as of late.

You hear more honks along with a hissed, “Fuck, goddamn it, stupid fucking honk horns.”

It goes silent after a minute of honking and cursing. “Are you dead,” Karkat asks, sounding equally like to be joking and not joking.

“Not yet,” you mutter into the ground.

You may all yet die from embarrassment over how you shared a pile with Karkat last day. As if prompted, your thoughts all try to go back to the feelings and confusion as were settling all new in your pan before you went to sleep. You groan into the dirt softly, face all flushed, and then you belatedly wonder on the status of your makeup. You’re so used to not having it on when you wake, you forgot it was still on. You push yourself up slightly as you hear Karkat getting down from the pile. You do at your best to be ignoring that as you move to sit and take a breath before going to pull out your special stardust. You reach in your pocket and all grab the first thing you feel with your fingers.

You jolt at the loud honk as you weren’t expecting, and something shoots out of your 'dex.

“Shit,” you shout, turning to see Karkat fall to the ground with a yelp to dodge whatever it is.

Goddamn it Gamzee,” Karkat shrieks.

The thing bounces off the wall of the cave and you stand as Karkat continues to all scream at you, “What the utter shitfuck! How many fucking times are you going to do stupid things with your modus? It’s bad enough that it’s a fucking nightmare with the flashing color scheme, but now you’re trying to kill us with it?”

“Sorry,” you say as you watch the thing fly towards you. You catch it midair and look to see that it’s a bottle of wicked elixir. “Fuck, I hadn’t meant to pull anything out of my ‘dex Karkat. I was just gonna sit and pray a little, so I all reached in my pocket to get my special stardust and grabbed a horn all accidental like.”

Karkat sits up and hisses, “Why do you have a fucking horn in your pocket?”

“When I cleaned up my horns from that floor, this motherfucker had all done been trapped under my one-wheel device. Though I had all forgot on about it ‘till now. I’m all as rattled on about this shit as you are,” you halt, realizing that the next words on your tongue had all been ‘my brother’. You. Can’t think about that with him in front of you.

“My kin,” you say quietly, trying to all force the thinking to be going away, but that all seems to make you think on it more, and motherfuck you can sense a mental cycle when you feel it. Then you pull the horn out of your pocket carefully and toss it in the pile, before walking over and putting the pile away in a card. You open the wicked elixir carefully and gulp at it some, trying to ease your minor distress. After drinking some of it, you pull the bottle of wicked elixir away from your talk blaster, staring at the fizzing liquid inside.

It always was times as your emotions did things unexpected or unwanted that you had the strongest cravings for the stupor as you once thought was happiness. It ain’t, it ain’t, it ain’t, it never motherfucking was. It was a lie and a temptation, and you are fucking better without it. True happy and able to think your own thoughts. But damn, Mirthful Messiahs forgive you and help you both, but you’re a weak fucking troll and you crave a sopor pie right about now.

“You think the sun has set all the way yet?”

Karkat’s voice makes you twitch slightly. Fuck, you need to chill out or you’re bound to flip the motherfuck out due to fear. Oh right, you need to answer. You have to run his words over in your pan to be understanding them and it takes you a minute to remember words.

“Dunno,” is the first thing you say. Then, “Should all be, I figure.”

You hesitate before putting away your wicked elixir, then all reach for and pull out your special stardust. You close your gander bulbs and have a flurry of thoughts all assault you for the want to pray at about them. You let be for now, trying as hard as you can to all focus, for you still want to check on your makeup.

You breathe out slowly before being all to quietly murmuring as you pray, “Holy Mirthful Messiahs, a brother as believes truly in you be calling at you, asking for your listening. I’m being to be asking for ability to make sure my makeup be all arranged proper according to your approval. All I do for you, in expectant arrival of the honks I know will come in eventuality. I offer praise at you upmost, may your honks all be heard unending through time and space both, may your lives be eternal beyond existence, and may your most holy carnival rein evermore, amen.”

You open your gander bulbs and grab a pinch of stardust, flicking it above your nugbone, and catching the shit as pops out of your ‘dex. It’s the wicked elixir bottle from before. You stare at it for a moment, figuring this for your Messiahs being to fooling around with you. You sigh slightly before all scoffing quietly, making admittance that them playing this joke on you is all funny. Embarrassed and troubled as you motherfucking are on it, you still see the hilarity in it.

“Aight, I get it,” you mutter. “It’s all to be funny watching this motherfucker be stumbling and bumbling. Serious though, you know I need to check on the condition of my holy face.”

You juggle all you got, holding your wicked elixir in the crook of your arm, with your special stardust in your prong as you use the other prong to get and be throwing up another pinch of special stardust. Another thing pops out of your ‘dex and you grab it with your free prong, seeing it’s all the broken phone. You hum slightly and tilt it, seeing it reflect like a dark blurry mirror. Should work well enough for now.

“Thanks all to you both,” you say, putting the special stardust back into your pants pocket. Then you spend some time looking at your reflection through your phone. The first thing you notice is the blood, purple down from your cartilaginous nub as well as spots of yellow and jade. There’s also all some dirt from both times you fell on your face. It ain’t all too motherfucking bad, not nearly as bad as you had all feared. You put your wicked elixir up in your ‘dex and brush off the dirt carefully, leaving the blood be for now, knowing that Messiahs ain’t never minding you wearing blood of those you had killed for them or the family, and you personally not minding wearing your own color. You feel a bit better, all knowing that your makeup is presentable enough, and praying be a routine that always puts ease at your pan.

After you get all done, you put the phone all up as well, and turn to see Karkat trying to budge the rock in vain. You notice the cloth from before is all gone. You blink and ask, “Want all some help kin?”

Karkat stops struggling to turn to look at you, his face flushed with exertion as he pants. After a moment, he says, “I don’t want you tearing your wound open again. I can get it.”

You huff and say, “I all for certain motherfucking see at your ability to move that rock.”

Karkat hisses softly and glares at you as he says, “You have a severe injury, just let me handle it.”

“Kin, you are being all impractical,” you say. “Just let me motherfucking push it out our way. Won’t lift or pull it, so the wound as I got should all be fine.”

Karkat scowls and huffs unhappily before he all is muttering, “Fucking fine. If I see you bleeding afterwards, I’m going to flip out on you, be forewarned.”

You scoff, barely ignoring a wave of that warm feeling over his brash care at your health, and walk over. Karkat shuffles away from the rock while grumbling, “Stupid fucking highblood strength, making it look easy to move, fucking unfair is what it is.”

Once in front of the rock, you push against it all forceful. You struggle for a second before it budges, and you all continue to push at it with effort, thinking it may have all been easier to simply pick it up and deal with what might have all done happened to your wound due to it. But you don’t be thinking that right now is a time as you can handle Karkat getting hissy at you with what brash concern he has, so you be continuing to shove and goad the rock little by motherfucking little. You be exerting so much more effort than before, but you don’t feel your wound all stretch or nothing. Eventually, it all does get to have moved enough that you and Karkat can slip out of the cave, so you stop all struggling against it.

“Damn,” you huff, out of breath. “Was easier to lift that motherfucker. Least it’s all out the way now though.”

“Let’s get moving,” Karkat says. “We probably have a long way to walk.”

You nod before both you and Karkat all go out of the cave. You follow the marks on the trees back to where all you both crash landed – which you can tell is being the right spot by the tree as has dents in its bark from your clubs – and then you all walk towards the way the yellow blood threw you both. It’s all to be blessedly silent as you and Karkat walk. You are still feeling all not ready to face much about what happened in and near that motherfucking cave. The deaths you caused don’t even begin to be bothering you in the least, the fight and all that shit ain’t something as unsettles you. But this weirdness. This emotion unquantified and unfamiliar. It unsettles you harsh and unwanted. Not having to struggle to talk casual and normal with Karkat is all that much less stress on you, so you all are going to be welcoming at it.

So you and he all walk in silence unbroken, and after a while you both all end up in the area as you fought, the bodies gone but blood still there as proof. You and Karkat glance at each other before continuing. It’s another few minutes before you and him finally manage to find your way back to the ships, passing another place as has blood all over it with no bodies in sight. As soon as you get to where the ships be, a whole motherfucking bunch of trolls come all out both Karkat’s battleship and Painter’s Choice. All them end up crowding around you both, smiling and all excitedly speaking at the same time to you both.

“Little brother,” Prakis says, “Good to see you well.”

“Martinet, damn, it’s unlike you to be unresponsive for so long-”

“Worried about you my brother-”

“Predicted you would be fine-”

“Are you injured-”

“We got called for backup and there were so many-”

“Fight was so glorious, you missed-”

You put up your prongs and all plead, “One at a motherfucking time, please my family.”

“I would also appreciate it if everyone didn’t shout at me all at once,” Karkat gruffly says. Everyone quiets down and Karkat says, “Also, Makara does have a wound that should be treated sooner rather than later, so that should probably be handled first.”

The brown with sign as reminds you of a ‘q’ with the end curled and long hair as is tied up steps forward and says, “I should be able to do it easily enough.”

“This here brown blood got psionics that heal wounds,” educator Gimnas says. “Was a motherfucking true help to everyone after the fight that went down. Don’t hardly even hurt much when they do it either.”

“Huh, okay,” you say.

The brown blood walks up and asks, “Where is your injury?”

“Oh, on my side,” you say, lifting your shirt slightly to all reveal the wound as is still wrapped up.

You all just now realize how fucking embarrassing letting Karkat deal with your wounds was, and feel your face and auricular shells all going hot. You all momentarily flip the fuck out in your pan, screaming in embarrassed frustration.

Slight short circuits of electricity bring you out of your mental anguish, they all to be feeling almost like invisible stitches, as well as a very slight singe. It hardly lasts more than a few minutes before the brown blood says, “There, done!”

You put your shirt down and mutter, “Thanks.”

The brown blood smiles, “No problem.”

Then they turn to Karkat and ask, “What about you, are you injured?”

Karkat frowns, crossing his arms over his chest as he replies, “Not really.”

The brown blood scoffs and then you watch as Karkat’s whole body quickly has psionics spark all over it. Karkat yelps and hiss-growls, the brown blood smugly saying, “Next time don’t try to lie to your mediculler.”

Karkat hisses softer, turning and muttering under his breath, “Annoying ass psychics.”

“Little brother,” Prakis says, all grabbing at your attention. “We need to discuss some things with you.”

“Sure, my sibling,” you say mildly.

Prakis all bids you with waves, and you and your family walk a short distance away before Prakis goes to say, “It’s about what happened after you left on a holy rage.”

“What did get to be happening,” you ask, your concern suddenly spiking. Your family looks all well, but still.

Prakis chuckles softly, “Calm now, little brother, nothing too bad happened.”

You relax a little and Prakis continues, “After you left, Vantas told his threshecutioners to handle things before he ran after you, saying he was going to cover you.”

You feel your pump biscuit all skip a beat at that, your face all getting warm once again. Prakis continues, not noticing your flusterment, “After Vantas left, a whole horde of midbloods came to attack us, as well as a few psionic yellows.”

“It was motherfucking glorious,” educator Gimnas purr-growls with a wide toothy grin.

“It certainly was,” educator Shigin agrees. “Shrila and his matesprit were going fucking wild.”

“All that shit about the brother being so inclined to paint himself with the blood of enemies was entirely truthful,” educator Zelorn says. “He was laughing as to mock, licking blood off his sword, painting his body with the colors, including his own at times.”

“Shrila acted like a motherfucking natural juggernaut,” subjugglator Uzdavi smirks. “Unpracticed and all he may be, but damn, brother definitely has rage like our own vein.”

“His matesprit Apawul was a shock to see when they fought, I didn’t expect their ferocity,” educator Kosezi says. “It was something else, my brother.”

“It was a wicked ass horror show,” educator Hinnun adds.

“But there were entirely too many, even for all of us,” Prakis says. “Luckily, the rust Glemoy called for backup, which arrived in less than a motherfucking minute, I was impressed by the threshecutioners on that. And with the extra force, who were quite respectably good at what they all did, the heretic motherfuckers were quickly all killed with little injuries to us or the threshecutioners.”

“That’s good,” you say with a relieved smile.

“After the heretics were all dead, Shrila was still caught in a rage, but he didn’t attack anyone, just like Vantas said.” Subjugglator Uzdavi gets all surprised-enthusiastic, waving her prongs around as she adds on, “Plus, motherfucking plus, his moirail Bergis all calmly walked up to him and gently placed a prong over Shrila’s cheek. That’s all it fucking took, my brother, not even a full pap and Shrila was all back to motherfucking normal!”

Your brows raise a bit, that is a surprise. Most trolls need a full shooshing and papping before they calm down from a rage like that.

“Then the threshecutioners suggested we go back to their ship for healing,” educator Ruburm says.

“We were uncertain about leaving you out there,” educator Kosezi continues. “But the threshecutioners all spoke up and said you would be fine since Vantas, the Martinet, was with you. They all spoke very well on him, so we agreed to go back, where that brown blood and a few others all made sure everyone was healthy and such.”

You nod and ask, just to make sure, “So all of you are being all well?”

Your family all smiles and Prakis says, “Yes, we’re fine.”

You all heave a sigh of relief and thoughtlessly smile.

“So, after all that happened, we went to sleep at church, not wanting to inconvenience the threshecutioners,” Prakis tells you. “We arrived back here soon after sunset tonight, because we had hoped you would return soon.”

You nod and say, “Be righteously good to hear at that, my family. Though I figure as I should say something all official. Figure most of you already be at on the same page as me on this, but I want for finding out who what and why in of this. Most import, how the fuck these heretics got on a planet so close to church. Ain’t gonna sit and abide that shit, even if it ends up some motherfucking heinous coincidence.”

“I’ll set some of our best and cleverest adult ninjas to scour this heretic-corrupted planet with your sanction, Grand Pulpiteer,” educator Gimnas offers with a vicious snarl.

“I can send some versatile adult subjugglators with them, just to ensure our family don’t get outnumbered by any means,” subjugglator Uzdavi says, scowling angrily.

You nod and say, “Ensure they know the threshers ain’t our enemies. When heretics are found, take them in for full interrogation. Also seeing as with Kindness’s rule, we don’t get as many chances for getting fresh paint, see to it that this opportunity ain’t wasted.”

The two of them bow to you slightly, and with that order all issued, everyone of your family members relaxes slightly.

“What even happened when you ran off,” subjugglator Uzdavi asks after a moment of pause. “We sent you messages and all that, was everything okay?”

“Yeah,” you reply, “I went to kill the psionic and certainly did so, but there was another psionic and three midbloods. I fended the midbloods off fairly well for a while, though the olive did all manage to get my side. Then the teal all shocked me with a motherfucking stun gun, and that’s all when Karkat arrived. He killed the teal, stopping the shock as was all stunning me, I killed the jade and he killed the olive. Then the other yellow all short circuited our electronic shit before sending us all flying off. When we landed, it was near dawn, so we found a cave. He all helped to make sure my wounds were patched up and then we all slept on a pile of horns till night. Then we all walked here and here all we are.”

There’s a pause before Educator Shigin says, half telling half asking, “He patched up your wounds and you didn’t accidently attack him.”

Educator Gimnas chimes in immediately after, the same half telling half asking tone as they say, “You and he slept in a pile together over day and didn’t accidently attack each other.”

Your face burns up rapidly and subjugglator Uzdavi says in the same half telling half asking manner, “You are calling him by his given name.”

You hide your face in your prongs, your squeal pipette all making a high-pitched whining chirp, and you plead, “Can we motherfucking not do this right now, fam? I’m all trying real motherfuckin fierce to not be thinking at this shit.”

There’s another pause before one of them places a prong on your shoulder and you glance up to see Prakis smiling at you as they say, “Well, either way, we’re glad to hear you are well.”

You grumble, motherfucking mortified by your own self. “Brother Gamzee,” Prakis says after a moment of pause.

You hum at them questioningly and they ask, “So, what do you think of Shrila? Do you think he’s trustworthy?”

You all unhide and look at Prakis for a moment, then you smile softly as you say, “I do my sibling, I honest do.”

You see all your family grin in unison as Prakis says, “Good! Then we all agree!”

You grin and ask, “So he can all be taught shit and get inducted then?”

Prakis nods and says, “He certainly can, if he so chooses.”

“Should we all go and tell him that,” you ask, excited and joyful, near to bouncing in place with the sudden lift in your mood.

Prakis smiles, “Go ahead, you’re the Grand, you should tell him.”

You nod and walk over. The threshers all look up at you as you near them, making to get out your path as you walk to what middle of the gathering where Karkat stands with Shrila and his quadrants.

Karkat looks up at you as Shrila says, “And then Bergis says ‘give my bullet a hug’, it was fucking amazing.”

Karkat looks back to Shrila with one brow raised as he says, “I’m sure. Looks like you have company though.”

There’s a pause before Shrila turns around. He looks at you, blinking, then he smiles and says, “Grand Pulpiteer! What’s up?”

You manage to all not smile as you say, “I have all come here to bring you news of the family’s decision about your joining.”

Shrila’s grin disappears and he stands up straighter and quietly asks, “Uh, um, what did they say?”

“Shrila Sirien,” you say, struggling to keep a straight face. You pause, figuring there’s no harm in letting him sweat a bit. Okay, you admit it’s cruel, but it’s all funny at the moment and you ain’t never said you can’t be a terrible troll sometimes. But you can’t all keep it up very long, so you grin and tell him, “You have all proven you are trustworthy and are all allowed to be taught as one of our own.”

Shrila gasps, choking on a chirp, and you bow to him slightly, saying, “Welcome to the faithful family.”

Shrila makes this clicking-whining noise and starts leaking dismay fluid, wiping at his gander bulbs as he mutters curses. You chuckle and all sense your other family members coming over. They silently move to stand around and near Shrila as he sobs quietly, Bergis holding Shrila’s nugbone to his chest and smoothing his hair silently. The family all smile and murmur congratulations and welcomes, being all respectful of distance with him all being in the arms of his moirail. After a while, Shrila finally manages to settle, standing up and looking at the family, his family.

He smiles shakily and Prakis all says at him, “So, my brother, are you ready to go to church and catch up on the lessons you need to know before you choose whether to commit yourself to the Messiahs?”

“Yes,” Shrila exclaims, grinning wide.

Prakis chuckles softly, “Alright, while we’re there, we can give you initiate makeup. Can’t have a family member be without their makeup.”

Shrila is near to vibrating with his enthusiasm and eagerness, but still he looks to his moirail. Bergis huffs fondly and asks, “What are you waiting for? Go to church you clown.”

Shrila buzz-chirps and nuzzles Bergis, muttering, “Pity you so fucking much.”

Bergis hum-purrs and kisses the top of Shrila’s nugbone, softly saying, “I pity you too.”

Shrila pulls away from his moirail, grinning and looking bound to leak dismay fluid all over again. Shrila nods, almost to himself, before turning to the family. Shrila and the family all walk towards the ship, and you briefly pause to wave at Karkat and say, “Peace.”

“Wait, here,” Karkat tosses something at you and you catch it. You look to see it’s another phone. “Now you can contact others if you need to. Go ahead keep that one, it’s yours.”

You look up at him, all putting the phone in your pocket as doesn’t have your bag of special stardust in it, saying, “My thanks to you kin.”

“Get a pile, jeez,” someone murmurs with a chuckle. Your face and auricular shells go at burning and you see Karkat’s face and auricular shells go bright red as well.

Excuse you,” Karkat turns to face whoever said that as he shrieks, “Excuse fucking you, what the fuck did you just say?”

After a slight pause, Karkat shouts, “Don’t actually say it again, you vile rotted husk! I shudder to realize that you count as a sentient lifeform. What the fuck actually is wrong with you? What miss-shaped malignant tumor made your pan so distorted that you think you can just say that kind of thing? I’m beginning to think that I need to make it clearer that I am your goddamn superior, not your hatefriend. Just because we shit around and I’m fucking nice to you all, you shouldn’t misconstrue that into some kind of hoofbeastmanure reason for disrespecting me like this. Would you dare to insinuate yourself into the Empress’s life just because she smiles and laughs with you? No, you fucking wouldn’t, because it’s stupid to stick your damn cartilaginous nubs into someone else’s life, you dumb fucks. Every single one of you can go fuck off out of my personal goddamn business, thank you very much.”

It sounds as if the same someone all tries to speak at him, “Martinet we were just-”

“You were just fucking sticking your damn cartilaginous nubs into places they don’t belong,” Karkat says over them, “I know, I am very well informed on what your goals were, the fact continues to be that you all are piss-guzzling shit weevils who can’t mind their own goddamn issues! What the fuck is so damned interesting about me, I may never know, but you are all so fucking invested in my personal life like it’s a fucking show or some shit. Have you ever once considered that this tendency is really fucking annoying for me? I don’t need you all as the shitty excuse of an audience to the nonexistent television spectacle called my life. I platonically despise you all for this shit, I swear to fuck one of these days I’m just going to fucking threshecute myself just because of this hoofbeastmanure. Whatever is or isn’t going on in my personal life is none of your concern. So why don’t you do me and yourselves a motherfucking favor and leave me the fuck alone!”

Then Karkat storms off into his battleship, and you hide your face in your prongs, all making a whine-chirp once again.

“Sorry,” the same voice says. You turn to see an unfamiliar face. It’s a brown thresher with medium length straight hair, a sign that looks like a squiggly equal sign with another wavy line what has a circle at the top going up and down the middle of the curved equal sign.

Their horns look all like tall cones with a rounded tip and they frown as they say, “We didn’t mean to get him riled up. We were just trying to mess with him.”

You grumble and glance away, muttering, “No troll all likes being messed on about shit as ain’t being a thing.”

There’s a pause before they ask, “Wait, you guys aren’t?”

They stop and you sigh, “No, we ain’t being nothing but friends.”

They visibly shrink and look disappointed as they mutter, “Oh.”

You grunt softly, feeling all major uncomfortable as your pan nags and nibbles about those feelings as you really don’t want to contemplate right now.

“That’s a bummer,” they mumble all at themselves. “We were hoping you guys were-”

“Serold,” someone else hisses softly, “I think you should just drop it now.”

There’s a sigh and a mutter of, “It’s just that Martinet is always so high-strung, if anyone needs-”

Something in your pan fissures slightly at that and you barely hear the same troll who went hissing a sec ago as they all hiss-click before they say harshly, “Quit.”

“Fine, fine, but we all know it’s true,” Serold says with a huff and a pout.

“I’m, um, I’m gonna all take my leave now,” you mutter at no one, struggling to be ignoring or forgetting what all you just heard. You firmly all label that shit as ‘NO’ and tie it tight, tossing it as far back as it’ll go into your pan. With luck, it may fall down one of them holes you got and you’ll forget about all this shit. Then you quickly abscond to the ship as your family is in.

You get in, seeing them smile at you, and vaguely hearing them say something about going back to church. You just kind of nod and smile back before all finding a place as to sit. You close your gander bulbs and take measured breaths, prongs shaking and stomach all to being churning.

It only takes a few minutes to get to church, and ain’t being enough time as to have gotten your hold back on at yourself. Educators Kosezi and Shigin take Shrila to give him his makeup, while educators Gimnas, Zelorn, and Hinnun leave to go at doing something else, and you’re left with Prakis and subjugglator Uzdavi.

You follow them without thought for a time that you can’t rightly account for, their voices muffled as through water or some shit.

“Hey little brother,” Prakis says. You blink and look around, trying to all being to remember how you somehow ended up at a tent that is being a shared living space. Like, you know you had to walk through the church and all that shit, but you can’t really recall doing it. You turn to them and they are smiling slightly at you. “You all spaced out for a while there.”

“Sorry,” you say with a soft grunt and frown, feeling dazed and wanting to just sleep until this all goes the motherfuck away.

You hear a sigh before subjugglator Uzdavi says, “All right. Level with us, what the motherfuck is making you go all spaced out?”

“It may not be unusual for the family, but it’s no good to ignore something like this, so tell us what’s in your pan little brother,” Prakis says with a slight frown.

“I,” you start out trying to say how there ain’t nothing wrong or something of that nature, but the fissure all rips and splits wide open in your pan, and you fold up on yourself, gripping tight at your hair and all standing on the balls of your strut pods with your knees all being near your face as all the shit as you’ve been trying to be ignoring motherfucking rushes in like a flood of your own fears and doubts. If there’s one thing you know, it’s the fear of all being in water as is too deep to be standing, and you know how it’s all too motherfucking easy to drown. “Fuck, my soul is bound to be motherfucking torn asunder my family, I, I cannot be fucking, cannot be fucking allowing. Won’t fucking allow harm to come to you all, won’t motherfucking let feelings as I don’t even motherfucking understand threaten at you all. Cannot get to be fucking allowing that, motherfucking refuse to be allowing that. I, I am fucking. I can’t do this, it’s too much a motherfucking risk, it’s too motherfuckin much. I can’t give in to this, I can’t let this be, I can’t.”

You choke on a sob, voice all gagging as you struggle to speak through what fear and dismay fluid be choking at you, “Messiahs, holy Mirthfuls, please. I cannot, I don’t know what to do, motherfuck, please show what be the path as I should take on this shit ‘cause I ain’t knowing-”

A high-pitched whine and loud sobs from your squawk blaster cuts off your own words, and you sense more than see both your educators kneel near you. “Gamzee,” you hear Prakis say quietly, “little brother, what has caused you to fear veering off the path Messiahs set for you?”

You snort to all stop the snot trying to come out your cartilaginous nub and speak, voice all watery and miserable, “When I woke tonight, goddamn, motherfuck. Nearly called him my brother without even thinking and I just, fucking. Shit as is unwanted and unexpected has always fucking been my goddamn weakness, my downfall, motherfuck! I just want my family safe, why, why, fuck, I ain’t strong enough family, I ain’t even near strong enough.”

“What you got to be strong against,” subjugglator Uzdavi asks.

A sob all bubbles up and you feel hate so hard at yourself as you admit with voice hoarse and thick in your emotions, “I just, it made me want a pie so fucking bad.”

You feel one of them grab a hold of you and hug you, and you hug back, fingers slightly digging into a familiar robe. Prakis says, “Craving shit you were once addicted to ain’t a lapse, you know that, it’s just temptation added onto habit, nothing more.”

“Still feel like shit over it,” you rasp out. “That and more, goddamn, shit’s a mess in my pan. But what’s motherfucking new, right?”

It’s a shitty non-joke of a joke, and for all you said it in an attempt to lighten some of this, when you hear it, it sounds more like being vanquished than any other thing. Prakis pulls back slightly to look at you, frowning before asking, “You said something about nearly calling someone ‘my brother’. Are you talking about Vantas?”

You flinch and look down, sniffing and feeling all terribly wretched as you mutter, “Yeah.”

You pause before saying, “But it’s like, what the fuck is even to be going on with me recently? I barely know this motherfucker, I be knowing that, it’s only been a few fucking nights since I first met him. I mean, there is a fair chance I may have never even met him. So why all does it come so easy to be trusting him?”

Subjugglator Uzdavi hesitates before she all goes at asking, “You could have easily never had interacted with him? Why is that?”

“I mean,” you mutter, rubbing the back of your neck, “I guess Feferi would have eventually got me to try to fix her problem with the family, but if it weren’t for a hatefriend of mine, I would have never seen Karkat get all commanding at what huge ass group of conscriptions. Maybe even Feferi would have personal tried to get secrets out of me. Just, I all honest think that shit would be a lot motherfucking different if I hadn’t gone and done seen at that speech myself.”

After a moment, Prakis says, “I have no way of knowing for certain, but it may be true that things would be different. If you ask my opinion, that makes the fact that you did meet Vantas serendipitous.”

You grumble-groan, embarrassed as you whine, “No, come on my sibling, it ain’t hardly like that. There weren’t none sparks or any easy knowledge of knowing all what quadrant to be in with him like in them movies. That shit couldn’t all be serendipitous.”

Prakis huffs and rolls their gander bulbs as they say, “My brother, when I was your age, serendipity did not mean just quadrants. Nothing about serendipity is like whatever movies showed you it was, I’m certain of that. Serendipity, you young motherfucking grub, is finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. What in that says only quadrants can be valuable or agreeable? Serendipity is good motherfucking fortune.”

You glance away and think at that a little. Prakis is telling you it doesn’t have to be quadrants, that it could just some fortune as is being sent your way from the Messiahs. You guess you can all see that, seeing as if Feferi had been the one to interrogate you, she might have all tried for getting secrets out of you, and you wouldn’t have let her get those at any cost. Plus, if you and Vantas got trust at each other, romantic or not, that means you’re both all to be more likely to avoid any kind of motherfucking war. You don’t think Feferi be honest in wanting a peaceful end. She wants an end, sure, but you personal think she could all be caring less how it be ending. You think Karkat all meant it when he said he wanted a peaceful end. You think he is worried over how his threshers would come all out of a war with your family. Just as you be worried on over how your family would all be coming out of a war with the Imperial Army. So yeah, you can see the fortune of meeting and dealing with him instead of Feferi all direct.

“Then why do I find such concern at him, and such joy when he shows concern at me? Why the fuck does my face get fucking hot and my chest get tight as fuck? What the fuck even do these fucking emotions goddamn mean? Can’t mean what I all think it does. There can’t be no way, there ain’t no way, ain’t no motherfucking way. There ain’t no way that after such a short motherfucking time, after just a few motherfucking nights. A few nights and no more, it can’t motherfucking be,” you near plead at Prakis, wanting them to tell you that you are right about this not being able to be.

After a moment, Prakis says, “Listen my brother, my pupil, my minister, my grand.”

You make a squeaky noise and Prakis pauses for a moment before going on, “Gamzee, only you can know your feelings on the matter, and I will not try to tell you how you feel.”

Prakis huffs, frowning at you briefly, “However, Sivils and I both know you, if someone doesn’t clear your unease on the matter now, you will ignore and avoid it, which ain’t a motherfucking good thing. As already motherfucking evidenced by you spacing out. That is why we pressed you on this right now. What I can tell you is as for the timing of it, which seems to be half the reason you’re flipping out so much, it’s not unusual for quadrants to come together after knowing each other a brief time. In fact, I’d say it is much more often than you seem to think it is.”

“Gamzee,” subjugglator Uzdavi says softly. You look at her as she gently asks, “Do you pity Vantas?”

“I,” you stop, and your teeth clack shut when you close your talk blaster.

You all still ain’t being able to pin what it was that all happened when Karkat’s face was as close to yours, but it was probably romantic pity. He made you feel something with such an intensity as is hardly being describable. Weren’t like you were some unfeeling motherfucker, you had motherfucking hatefriends and you had motherfucking family and you felt for them; pitied and sometimes hated those motherfuckers’ ways mostly platonic. You’ve felt many a motherfucking thing, you know emotions and you’ve felt the range of them sometimes to a degree what would send you backpedaling on your one-wheel device, plummeting off the motherfucking tightrope of your sanity and calm countenance. And you motherfucking felt that, too. The rough torn unknowing blankness of rage pure and true what taints your thoughts something dark and bloodthirsty, wanting paint to make a rainbow outta the blood of every fucker you set gander bulbs on. Felt it more times than you like to get remembrance onto, for a blind rage ain’t got no glory in it, unlike holy rage. You’ve even felt the agonizing process of sobriety, and before that you felt the pain of loneliness on near constant basis. You’ve felt many a motherfucking thing, no doubt. But none such a thing as this pure, intense feeling.

There also the facts that he mended your wound and you two all slept on a pile together. Then all those other things as when you felt warm or colored due to some shit as was said or some thought as you had. The way you all still be worried over some shit as he says on about himself and the way you feel when he all seemingly gets to worry on of you. That all does surely seem to add up to something as you got a name and idea on. Much as the thought frightens at you.

You vaguely wonder if the Messiahs are laughing at you like some kind of holy joke. If the way that they all went at pranking you some earlier be any sign at all, you all think they could be making a righteous riot over your life right about now.

“I don’t know. I might,” you finally say, running a prong into your hair once again before softly being to hiss out, “Messiahs.”

“You sound so motherfucking defeated by it, younger brother,” subjugglator Uzdavi says quietly. Then she asks, “Shouldn’t this be news to celebrate?”

“I, I don’t, motherfuck I don’t know,” you reply.

You see both Prakis and subjugglator Uzdavi frown at you, before subjugglator Uzdavi says, “My brother, you have all twisted yourself up over this when there was no need on it. No mortal knows why these things happen the way that they happen. That is why we believe quadrants are given by Messiahs, you know that.”

“Fuck, yeah, motherfuck, I know,” you murmur, staring at your strut pods. You take a breath and look up at your educators again, saying at them both, “Messiahs forgive me but I’m still uncertain and motherfucking terrified despite knowing at that! I honest don’t know what I be feeling and it motherfucking frightens me.”

You stop, then laugh bitter little huffs as almost sound like disbelief even at your own auricular sponge clots.

“Shouldn’t even matter either way,” you say quietly. “This could all be a mistake, or some shit as would put my family in danger. He’s still all being the leader of the Imperial Army. This could all certain be some horrible ass slipup what would be so much motherfucking worse than the last one. So what feelings might be going on in my pan don’t even matter while my family needs me to make sure they be safe.”

“There is nothing wrong with trying to trust a potential quadrant mate,” subjugglator Uzdavi says quietly.

You look at her, fear striking your core, “But-”

Prakis pats your shoulder, cutting off whatever the fuck your talk blaster was about to spew, and they say at you, “She’s right, my brother. We all know quadrants be something as Messiahs decide to give us. None but them ever know if it’s true ordained or if it’s a lesson in disguise. Sometimes, you must take that chance, to see if whatever you think you’re feeling could be the destiny as Messiahs had always planned for you. Even if this ends up being a lesson and no more, our family and faith will manage to survive, and your feelings would have still been valid and honest. So, while we don’t know your feelings on the matter, we do know that they are your authentic feelings one way or another. Don’t let your fear consume you, Gamzee. What is there for us to ever truly fear?”

You take a deep breath and close your gander bulbs, breathing out, “Not a motherfucking thing to fear under your Messiahs.”

“Preach,” subjugglator Uzdavi whispers.

You exhale shakily before grumpily muttering, “What the motherfuck even are quadrants, fuck, I thought this drama and confusion shit was meant for wigglers.”

Subjugglator Uzdavi huffs in laughter softly, saying, “Yeah, I thought that too. My brother, quadrants ain’t never something to fully understand.”

Prakis chuckles quietly, “True. Even though you both are still wigglers compared to me, honestly quadrants still confuse me sometimes.”

You sigh and ruffle your hair, hesitating before muttering, “I was all planning to invite Shrila’s moirail and Karkat to the carnival for the nights before initiation any motherfucking way.”

Prakis and subjugglator Uzdavi smile at you, and you weakly smile back, feeling all drained. Motherfuck but do you got a lot of shit to deal with still.

Chapter Text

You all take time to yourself to be cleaning your shit up. Putting on clean makeup, brushing your hair, and changing your outfit. You now be wearing a loose sleeveless light purple shirt with purple ‘o’ shapes on it as well as your sign in your color taking up a large part of one half the shirt, and some loose dark purple slacks that have black stripes which be vertical on one half and horizontal on the other. It feels nice to get at hygienic after so long, especially all after killing some heretic ass motherfuckers. You be fresh in all motherfucking aspects, and you all set to doing the things as you have planned to be done. First, you be certain as to pray to settle this lingering uncertainty and fear in you.

You exhale a breath through your talk blaster and start speaking, “Messiahs most holy and revered, I have a vow to both you which I wish as to have adhered. I ask for my uncertainty to be cleared, I desire as to know on of what is true to be feared. My whole life you have both engineered, by me your wills are upmost endeared. The truest truth deep into my soul will be peered, in this too I want for you both to have steered. For eternity let your whims not be interfered, until the end of time your honks shall be cheered.”

You pause for a moment or two after, seeing if they send you any message or hint as to that you shouldn’t try to do this, to figure out your thoughts on of Karkat. Nothing happens though, so you take that as them saying to get the fuck on with it. Okay, let’s work this out, let’s deal with this one thing at a time. Another exhale and you don’t even gotta think much to know the first important thing. Do you trust him?

You, you half-numbly realize that you do, you trust him. You trust him to tell you the truth if you ask for it, to fight at your side in battle and have your back, to be blunt and call you out when you’re doing shit stupid. You think, you think you trust him nearly as much as your family. And, as much as a tiny scared part of you wants to panic and push him away over that, you are mostly calm about it. You are well-versed on of your fears of getting close to others, outsiders, anything outside of faith and what all the wicked word says. Still, you trust him, and you feel as okay with that as you ever have felt okay with a thing as still slightly scared you.

You take a space to breathe and let that realization sink in fully, then you try to think of what next. Respect; he all did earn that easy enough, he got plethora of skill and talents, verbal and physical both. Plus, he shows respect, even if he is a rude ass motherfucker most often, he still knows when and how to show his respect. Now do you actually all even pity him though?

Pale pity is all meant to be based on concern and protection on both sides, but that ain’t all it is. The primary function of moirallegiance is for someone to pacify a dangerous troll. You certain would all be the dangerous one as needs pacification. Not saying as Karkat don’t got temper and ability as to kill, but you’re mentally unstable. Most purples are in one way or another. Maybe even most trolls, to some extent or another. But you got your inferior ass broken motherfucking pan, and that certain don’t help nothing. You think Karkat might be able to at least physically stand up to you, if nothing else. That fight what you had showed as he could most likely keep up with you, if he weren’t tired and trying to not kill. He motherfucking suplexed you, so yeah, you all do think he could quite literal stop you with physical force if all else failed. The way that thought makes you feel hot in your cheeks and squirmy inside says as you like that. That you probably do got a pale attraction towards him. That you might want him to stop you.

What connection as you got with him right current ain’t like how you felt for Feferi, you already be well aware on that. His companionship is one you actually enjoy, speaking at him and listening at him is, well it’s kind of entertaining but also sometimes concerning? You like hearing his proficiency with spitting out words as verbally illustrate his points, but when he starts that spitting of fires onto his own self, you admit as it makes you worried. None of his hatefriends all seem to take note on it nor care, and you don’t know enough to know as what to do or say or think on about it, aside from the ambiguous feeling of worry. As far as protection goes, he seems fairly able to take care of himself, so you don’t all think as you would particular need to do that for him. You think you like the thought of protecting him sometimes though, when he lets you.

Right okay. Cool. Motherfucking. Bitch tits. So, you got pale as shit concern of him and want for his protection. Ain’t embarrassing at all to realize that you both like him pale ways and that you like the thought of him being physically able to stop you.

So, you think you can safely say that you got a pale crush on him, at the least. Don’t know if you got a want to actually be with him yet, or if it’s just a passing crush. You have other things as to worry about beyond your own emotions though. Now as you got a vague idea on your emotions, you feel a bit more centered onto the path as you should all be taking, and you all pull out of your pocket the phone as Karkat gave you,  to hit up some trolls as you need to speak with.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling apocalypticCredcendo [AC]

TC: HeY ThIs bE ThE GrAnD PuLpItEeR

TC: vAnTaS SaId aS ThAt tHiS WoUlD Be aDamEl

AC: :D Yeah! Glad to hear from you! Did all go well with Shrila!

TC: GlAd yOu aSkEd cAuSe i gOt sOmEtHiNg i aLl wAnTeD To tAsK At yOu aNd yOuR HaTcHmAtEs

AC: :D Oh, uh, okay!! Here let us just!

AC: :D Click this please!

apocalypticCredcendo [AC] opened memo board Don’t freak out!

underDarkness [UD] responded to memo.

UD: :X ?

basslineClockwork [BC] responded to memo.

BC: :C okay that title is making them do the opposite of freak out…

BC: :C just so you know…

AC: :D Please don’t! It’s fine!

AC: :D We think!

UD: :X …

BC: :C you think…

terminallyCapricious [TC] responded to memo.

TC: GrAnD PuLpITeEr hErE My FaMiLy ;o)

UD: :X ?!?!?!?!??!!?!!!

AC: :D Calm down please!

TC: I AlL JuSt wAnTeD To aSk sOmEtHiNg oF YoU AlL ReAl mOtHeR FuCkInG QuIcK

BC: :C what can we do for you grand pulpiteer…

TC: wElL SeE ShRiLa iS AlL AbLe tO JoIn tHe fAmIlY

AC: :D Well that’s good news! :)

BC: :C yeah it is… :(

UD: :X ~

TC: aNd i wAs tHiNkInG ThAt yOu tHrEe sHoUld kEeP WaTcH At hIm uNtIl tHe iNdUcTiOn cErEmOnY SiNcE ThE FaMiLy aIn’t aNy aMoUnT Of uSeD To sEeInG A NoN-PuRpLe, YoU FeEl mE

AC: :D Yeah! We can see how that could be something to worry about! As much as we love and trust our family, they could accidentally hurt our brother since they don’t know he’s a brother yet! :)

BC: :C yeah… they see no problem in doing this for you… :(

UD: :X += :x

UD: :X ,’

UD: :X *;‘’

UD: :X *@*

AC: :D Don’t be frustrated Gaxxic! We’ll tell him what you’re saying!

UD: :X … :|

TC: WhAt’s aLl bEiNg aT ThE MaTtEr

AC: :D Gaxxic’s quirk is this really complicated code she made up herself to avoid talking!

BC: :C we know what she’s saying… but it can confuse others…

AC: :D She just said that she agrees with us about it not being a problem!

BC: :C she also said that talking is difficult and frustrating…

UD: :X -_-

AC: :D Is that a face!

UD: :X +

TC: WeLl sHiT YoUs a sMaRt oNe iF YoU SeT SoMeThInG So dEtAiLeD Up

UD: :X !

UD: :X ~ u#u

BC: :C she said thank you and also made a face…

TC: WeLcOmE My sIsTeR :o)

TC: gOt aNoThEr tHiNg tO AsK At yOu aLl wHiLe yOu bE WaTcHiNg ShRiLa

BC: :C what’s that…

TC: I WaS PlAnNiNg aT InViTiNg hIs mOiRaIl aNd i fIgUrEd tHeY ShOuLd aLl eNjOy tImE ToGeThEr

TC: YoU ThInK YoU CaN MaNaGe tO WaTcH At tHeM WiThOuT ThEm fInDiNg oUt :o?

UD: :X …’’’

UD: :X “!?”

AC: :D Gaxxic is shocked and confused!

TC: HaHaHa :oD

TC: ShRiLa’s mOiRaIl cAn sEnSe pSiOnIcS So hE MiGhT Be aBlE To cAtCh yOuR ‘vOoDoOs iF YoU AiN’T AlL CaReFuL

UD: :X !!!!!!!

TC: yOu aLl wAnTiNg aNd rEaDy fOr aSsIgNmEnT GiVeN By tHe gRaNd aS WoUlD HeLp yOu pRaCtIcE At lEaShInG YoUr ‘VoOdOoS My sIsTeR

TC: i ThInK YoU AlL CaN Do iT :o)

UD: :X +!!+++!

UD: :X ~~~~

BC: :C gaxxic is excitedly saying yes as well as either saying thank you a lot or being really happy…

UD: :X &

BC: :C oh so she just said it was both… :(

AC: :D I’m excited too! This will be fun! :)

UD: :X ~~~ :>

apocalypticCredcendo [AC] closed memo board Don’t freak out!

You chuckle slightly, glad that they are all being excited to help you and Shrila.

nefariousSemblance [NS] started trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

NS: looks like you got a fire lit under my pupil gaxxic

NS: been trying to help her with the voodoo leashing shit since before she was officially a laughsassin but shes always procrastinating it like a stubborn little shit

NS: now she sudden goes all gungho saying you gave her a challenge

NS: so thanks for that

TC: nO PrObLeM :o)

TC: tHoUgH TaLkInG WiTh hEr aNd sEeInG WhAt cOdE As sHe mAdE MaKeS Me tHiNk tHaT WoUlD Be aT UsE To aLl yOu lAuGhsAsSiNs

NS: i thought that too when i saw it

NS: but also its really motherfuckin confusing

NS: you think itd be worth it to try to teach all of us the code

TC: No wAy aT KnOwInG UnTiLl wE TrY, rIgHt

NS: true

NS: ill speak to the other laughsassins about it as well as gaxxic when i find time

NS: wouldnt be preliminary though damn

NS: even i got to ask her hatchmates what she means sometimes

TC: Ha yEaH I’D BeEn tAlKiNg aT ThEm aLl aT ThE SaMe tImE AnD HaD To hAvE AlL ShE SaId ReItErAtEd bY ThE OtHeR TwO

TC: bUt yOu aLl gEt tO FiGuRiNg yOuR ShIt oUt aNd i’lL Do aS I NeEd dOnE As wElL ;o)

Speaking all of that, you should start to set that up. You mess around on trollian, pausing to reply to educator Gimnas, as you try to figure out how to start a memo.

NS: getting mysterious makes all laughsassins get urges to sniff out whats happening

NS: you know that motherfucker

TC: hAhA I VeRy mUcH Do bE KnOwiNg aT ThAt

TC: JuSt nEeD To sPeAk iN PeRsOnAl aT SoMe oF My sIbLiNgS To pAsS AlOnG A MeSsAgE

NS: cause thats so much less motherfucking obscure then the last thing you said

NS: reminding me why i wanted you for a laughsassin those sweeps ago

TC: oH YeAh i rEcEnT ThOuGhT At mAyBe gOiNg bAcK To tRaIn fOr tHaT ShIt

NS: motherfuck really

TC: YeAh i aLl wAs tRyInG My pRoNg aT HiDiNg aNd sNeAkInG AnD ShIt

TC: wEnT NoT As eXpEcTeD

NS: that so

NS: whatd you do

TC: hIdInG WaS EaSy, SnEaKInG nOt sO MuCh

NS: ima take a guess here

NS: you tried to use the vents

TC: HuH

TC: yEaH

TC: hOw’d yOu kNoW :o?

You finally manage to set up the memo board, but then you have to figure out how to all make that link as brings others to the memo. Goddamn this shit is complicated. You look at what educator Gimnas is saying at you.

NS: because every one of the laughsassins ive trained think thats a clever idea at first

NS: let me just tell you right here and now my brother

NS: NEVER

NS: USE

NS: VENTS

NS: !!!!

TC: sHiT OkAy

NS: if you didnt get stuck praise messiahs because it was only by a miracle

NS: goddamn i wanna find the motherfucker as thought that was a good thing to put in movies and throttle the shit out of them

NS: but anyway if you do decide to train as a laughsassin im more than happy to teach you

TC: HoW MoThErFuCkInG FuNnY WoUlD It bE FoR ThEm nEw fAiThFuL To bE TrAiNeD AsIdE ThEiR GrAnD HaHaHaHaHaHa

NS: ahahahahahahah yeah that would be hilarious

TC: By tHe wAy, HoW AlL Is gAtHeRiNg tHe mObIlE CiRcUs gOiNg

NS: got some of the best of the family all collected

NS: giving them a proper lowdown

NS: since you mention it though what your thoughts about the innitation

NS: cant guarantee as the shit would be wrapped up by then

TC: I AiN’T AbOuT To pReVeNt tHe fAmIlY FrOm sEeInG InNiTaTiOn

TC: LeT ThEm hAvE ThAt nIgHt oFf

NS: as you say grand pulpiteer

NS: we are at your disposal

TC: As yOu aLl dO MeSsIaHs bLeSsEd wOrK AnD BrInG ThE RiGhTeOuS MiRtHfUl cIrCuS At tO ThE HeReTiCs sO tHeY CaN GeT ThEiR CoMeUpPaNcE, bE In mOtHeRfUcKiNg rAgE MoSt gOdDaMn hOlY HoNk hOnK

NS: ill tell the others you said so im certain they will love to hear their grands blessing

nefariousSemblance [NS] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You think you finally figured out how to be doing that link shit and decide to test it out.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling parchmentAntiquarian [PA]

TC: HeY My sIbLiNg i’m tRyInG To sPeAk wItH SoMe tRoLlS AlL At tHe sAmE TiMe sO I TrIeD To fIgUrE OuT HoW ThIs mEmO BoArD StUfF AlL GeTs tO Be wOrKiNg

TC: dOeS ThIs mOtHeRfUcKiNg lInK WoRk

PA: Let me check.

terminallyCapricious [TC] opened memo board HoW ThE FuCk iS ThIs tO Be wOrKiNg eVeN GoDdAmN

parchmentAntiquarian [PA] responded to memo.

PA: §eem§ like it doe§! :o)

TC: SwEeT

PA: §o who did you need to talk to?

TC: wElL I WaNtEd tO MeEt wItH A CaRdInAl aNd sYsTeMiC So i wAs pRoBaBlY GoInG To aLl jUsT HiT Up eDuCaToRs sHiGiN AnD KoSeZi sInCe i kNoW ThEiR HaNdLeS NoW

TC: tHoUgH I WaNt tO Be tElLiNg tHiS ShIt aT YoU In pErSoNaL As wElL

TC: iT’S BeInG ReAl mOtHeR FuCkInG ImPoRtAnT My SiBlInG

PA: Oh? Well, invite the other§ and tell u§ where you wi§h to §peak to u§.

TC: i wIlL :o)

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling operaticPurification [OP]

TC: cLiCk oN ThIs mY FaMiLy

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling sleepingPsycho [SP]

TC: ClIcK On tHiS My fAmIlY

operaticPurification [OP] responded to memo.

OP: -what’s-up-grand-pulpiteer->

sleepingPsycho [SP] responded to memo.

SP: do you need Zomething?

TC: i gOt sOmEtHiNg aS I NeEd tO TeLl yOu aLl fAcE-To-fAcE

TC: iS ThE MaIn cHuRcH BeInG PrEpPeD FoR AnYtHiNg rIgHt nOw

PA: Not currently.

TC: GoOd iF YoU AlL AiN’T BeInG ToO MoThErFuCkIn bUsY CoUlD YoU MeEt mE ThErE

PA: §ure!

SP: okay ZNORE.

OP: -i’ll-arrive-shortly-:)->

You nod all at yourself before pushing aside the cloth to be walking out of your block and into the main church. You spot Prakis all walking out of the tent as leads to their block and you wave at them. You walk up to them as they wave and smile back.

“Ruburm and Klamat probably have to excuse themselves from lessons, but it shouldn’t be long before they get here,” Prakis says.

“Yeah, I all figured,” you say. Then you all ask, “Shrila got his makeup on yet?”

Prakis smiles, “Yes! Sivils is personally trying to catch him up as quick as she can right now.”

You nod, then smile and shake your nugbone slightly, “Damn though, almost feel bad, I wouldn’t want the brunt of subjugglator Uzdavi all on me. Got ‘nough of that while training, all thanks very much.”

Prakis scoffs, “I reminded her to be mindful of him because he’s not used to family and their friendliness.”

“Though the threshers all act real motherfucking close,” you say, having wanted to mention this at Prakis at some point any who. “Even with Karkat, like it’s strange seeing as they ain’t family and it can’t all be that all of ‘em are quadrants, you know?”

Prakis nods, “Yes, I noticed that during the fight. The way the backup Glemoy called for came so quick and how they fought together so well, it almost reminded me of how our family is.”

“I thought that too,” you exclaim. “Karkat was all getting stressed when we got separated without means of contact and I couldn’t figure out why until he shouted about how he didn’t want for stopping until he knew his threshers were being all well. That’s when all I realized that the threshers don’t act as other trolls.”

Prakis hums, “It is certainly interesting. Not something as I would have expected outside of the family, you know?”

“I motherfucking do be knowing my sibling,” you say. “It was a strange as fuck recognition.”

There’s a pause in your conversation, and you mutter, “Speaking of though. Might as all well invite Bergis and Karkat while we wait.”

Prakis chuckles softly and you stick your tongue all out at them, knowing why they be laughing. Prakis only laughs louder at that though, so you roll your gander bulbs fondly, and all go at trying to contact Karkat and Bergis.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]

TC: tHiS Be kArKaT RiGhT

TC: i’m aLl bEiNg gAmZeE

CG: OH, GOD, WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THAT QUIRK? IS YOUR FUCKING PHONE’S CAPS BUTTON BROKEN? PLEASE TELL ME IT’S JUST THAT YOUR PHONE IS BROKEN. OTHERWISE YOU ARE JUST AN ABSOLUTE TOOL WHO HATES THEMSELVES AND DECIDED TO USE THE MOST ANNOYING TO TYPE QUIRK EVER. I MEAN, EVEN IF YOU *WERE* USING A HUSKTOP, YOU’D BE CONSTANTLY PUSHING SHIFT AND ALL THAT BULLSHIT. WHY WOULD YOU PUT YOURSELF THROUGH THAT?

TC: hAhAhAhAhAhAhAhA :oD

TC: i dUnNo iT’S AlL JuSt bEiNg aS WhAt fEeLs rIgHt iN My pUmP BiScUiT To bE DoInG

CG: UGH READING THIS IS GIVING ME A HEADACHE. WHAT DO YOU WANT?

TC: fIrSt tO TeLl aT YoU ThAt sOmE Of mY FaMiLy bE To aLl cOmInG At oN WhAt pLaNeT YoU’Re aLl oN As tO RaT OuT ThE HeReTiCs aS AtTaCkEd uS

TC: YoU AlL WiLl bE LeFt aLoNe bUt i jUsT ThOuGhT I’D Be tO LeTtInG YoU KnOw wHaT SoMe cLoWnS ArE GoNnA Be aLl uP On tHaT ShItBaLl dOiNg mOsT MiRtHfUl hOlY WoRkS As yOu pRoBaBlY AiN’T WaNtInG To sEe

CG: WELL THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW. I DO APPRECIATE THE HEADS-UP, THOUGH IF YOU DO END UP FINDING OUT ANYTHING, I’D ALSO APPRECIATE FURTHER INFORMATION. BECAUSE, GUESS FUCKING WHAT, WE’RE KIND OF SITTING FUCKING WATERFOWL HERE WHILE WE WAIT FOR YOU. AND THAT IS NOT EXACTLY AN IDEAL SITUATION.

CG: NOT THAT I’M MAD AT YOU FOR IT. IF I SEEM ANGRY I ASSURE YOU IT’S JUST THE FUCKING DOWNFALL OF MY QUIRK. OR MOSTLY AIMED AT THE RANDOM FUCKERS WHO COULD RUSH TO ATTACK MY BATTLESHIP AT ANY MOMENT. KIND OF ON HIGH ALERT OVER HERE AND ALL THAT. SO YEAH. MORE UPDATES IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.

TC: I HeAr aT YoU My kIn

TC: AlSo i aLl wAs gOnNa bE AsKiNg aT BeRgIs’s hAnDlE

CG: WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HIS HANDLE? I COULD TELL HIM WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANTED TO TELL HIM. IT’S NOT LIKE I’M GOING TO ACTUALLY HURT THEM YOU KNOW. I KNOW I MADE A SCENE AND SHIT EARLIER, BUT THEY KNOW THAT MOST OF IS WAS JUST ME SPEWING HOOFBEASTMANURE. OR AT LEAST THE THREATS AND INSULTS WERE NOT SERIOUS.

TC: hA I FiGuReD ThAt iN HoNeSt

TC: BuT SeE, tHiS Is sOmEtHiNg aS I NeEd tO TeLl hIm mYsElF

CG: OKAY? I MEAN, THAT’S SUSPICIOUSLY VAGUE. BUT, LIKE, OKAY I GUESS. HIS HANDLE IS AMBERCALIBUR.

TC: tHaNkS KiN :o)

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling amberCalibur[AC]

TC: gRaNd pUlPiTeEr hErE To dRoP SoMe mOtHeR FuCkInG InFoRmAtIoN At yOu bErGiS

AC: why ♃re you cont♃cting me? I thought ♃ sure you didn’t like ♃ny of us non-f♃ithful.

TC: eVeN If tHaT WeRe tRuTh tHaT’S NoT Of ImPoRt rIgHt nOw

TC: JuSt dOiNg mY BrOtHeR A FaVoR AnD AlL BeInG To iNvItE YoU HeRe tO SeE At tHiS

TC: i ThOuGhT ThAt sHrIlA MiGhT WaNt oF YoU To bE HeRe ;o)

amberCalibur[AC] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You blink, confused as to why he all stopped speaking at you.

CG: GAMZEE, WHAT THE FUCK?! YOU HAVE GODDAMN EXPLAINING TO DO RIGHT THE FUCK NOW! IF YOUR NEXT SENTENCE DOESN’T CLARIFY EXACTLY WHAT THE FUCK YOU DID, I WILL SCREAM AND BITCH YOU INTO NONEXISTENCE. SO, YOU BETTER HAVE A GOOD FUCKING EXCUSE LINED UP OR SO HELP ME I WILL FLIP THE FUCK OUT TO THE POINT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HEAR MY SCREAMING FROM WHATEVER DUMBASS PLANET YOU’RE SQUATTING ON.

TC: Uh cAn i aLl aSk fOr a hInT At wHaT ThE mOtHeRfUcK Is bEiNg tHe tHiNg aS YoU’Re gEtTiNg tO YeLlInG At mE FoR FiRsT :o?

CG: I WOULD NORMALLY SAY DON’T GIVE ME THAT KIND OF SHIT, BUT I HAVE THIS ODD FEELING THAT YOU MIGHT JUST ACTUALLY NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON, SO I WIL EXPLAIN IT TO YOU IN SIMPLE AS FUCK TERMS. BERGIS, WHO IS BASICALLY THE SANEST TROLL I’VE *EVER* MET, AND THE MOST SENSIBLE TROLL ON THIS WHOLE SHIP, IS FLIPPING OUT ABOUT “NEEDING TO GO” INTO THE CHURCH FOR SOME MYSTERIOUS REASON?

TC: hOnKhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhHoNk

CG: ?!

CG: WOW, CONGRATULATIONS, FANTASTIC JOB ASSHOLE, THAT EXPLAINS LESS THEN GODDAMN NOTHING! EXCELLENT JOB AT DOING THE LITERAL OPPOSITE OF WHAT I ASKED TO SUCH A DEGREE THAT *I’M* STARTING TO GET MOTHERFUCKING CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.

TC: SoRrY, sOrRy

TC: I AlL JuSt fInD It fUnNy

TC: TeLl hIm tHeRe aIn’t nOtHInG To gEt aT WoRrIeD AbOuT

TC: wAnTeD FoR YoU To bE CoMiNg aS WeLl

TC: ShIt iS LiKe tO Be GeTtInG RiGhTeOuSlY RoUdY In HeRe rEaL SoOn. :o)

CG: THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? HONESTLY, SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING STRAIGHT FORWARD FOR ONCE IN YOUR DAMN LIFESPAN? DO YOU EVEN HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MAKE A CLEAR STATEMENT? THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE MAKING ME BEGIN TO GENUINELY WONDER.

TC: i cAn aLl bE TrYiNg aT It

TC: i’m aLl tO Be tRyInG To sUrPrIsE ThEm bOtH By aLl tEcHnIcAl sEtTiNg uP SpAcE AnD TiMe fOr tHeM To bE ToGeThEr aNd sUcH

TC: tHaT LiKe tO Be cLeAr eNoUgH KiN :o?

CG: SO, YOU’RE BASICALLY SETTING UP A PALE DATE FOR THEM, IS WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.

TC: yEaH PrEtTy mOtHeR FuCkInG MuCh

CG: OKAY SO THEN WHY IN THE FUCK DO I NEED TO COME TOO?

TC: NoW ThAt, My mAiN MoThEr fUcKeR, iS AlL To bEiNg sOmEtHiNg aS YoU WiLl bE HaViNg tO CoMe hErE To fInD OuT ;o)

CG: HOLY SHIT, FUCK YOU, YOU DAMN OBSCURE AS FUCK CLOWN DOUCHE. DON’T BOTHER TO MESSAGE ME AGAIN UNTIL YOU COME TO TROLLSNATCH US OR WHATEVER.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You put the phone up with a smile, all waiting for another minute or so in silence before both educator Klamat and educator Shigin all walk into the main church. You and Prakis go at greeting them half way and you try to all prepare yourself for what you must be telling them.

“So, what is it you needed to say,” educator Klamat asks.

You take a breath and say, “Well, I wasn’t all sure how to be going about this to be honest. But all listen here, ‘cause for all I ain’t knowing the how of how this is meant to be done, I know it’s to be of major import and I ain’t wanting for to wait no longer on telling my family this.”

The three family members before you all straighten up and focus intent at you.

“So, while out of church, I met a bunch of unfamiliar faces and such,” you explain, “and one of them new trolls I got to meeting was a yellow who was. Way motherfucking older then they normally live. Apparent was a prisoner of the Condesce and she extended his life way beyond its own motherfucking means. As much as that is shit as ain’t being any kind of right, there be a different reason for as why I tell you this. Brother’s name is Mituna Captor, title as the Helmsman or the Psionic.”

The Psionic,” Klamat asks all seeking clarification, “The one who was a follower of the mutant heretic? The one as was hatched hundreds of sweeps ago?”

You pause slightly before going on, “Yeah, my sister. The very same. He all said as much. Brother has gotten wrinkled skin and fully grey motherfucking hair on top of a few other things which sure show he is being old as fuck for his blood.”

“So, what reason is there for you to bring this to our attention,” Prakis asks, frowning slightly.

You look at them and say, “When I went as to meet him, he asked for my sign and hatch name. When I told him, it seemed as if he knew a Makara in his past, so I asked if he knew my ancestor. He said he did know my ancestor.”

You pause to look at all three of them before looking at Prakis and saying quietly, “In fact, he also said that my ancestor was a good clown.”

The shock of all three of them bolt into your horns and you go on softly, “Captor said that the last thing my ancestor spoke at him was that if anyone was to ask about the Grand Highblood, to say that to them. He also said that he had been all waiting a time as was too long to be able to say that.”

“By the Messiahs,” Prakis says quietly, running a prong up into their hair.

“He said that he and my ancestor were moirails in secret,” you go on at saying. “That they had to be at secret because of what risk there was with Captor all being a slave to the Condesce in every sense of the word.”

“I,” Prakis starts. After a pause, they drop their prong and glance away as they all say, “Yes. With the Condesce, who knows what she might have done to either of them if she found out. And I can’t imagine that Grand Highblood would have risked that.”

You walk up to them and gently ask, “Wanna sit down my sibling? You look as if the wind is bound to be knocking you down.”

“Yes,” Prakis replies quietly. You all help them sit down, educators Klamat and Shigin sitting as well.

“By the Messiahs, we tried to get his quadrants when he passed,” Prakis mutters. “He never spoke on any before then though, and the closest as we knew of was with the Condesce. Even she we sent a slightly hesitant invite to, as well as asking if she knew on any others. She motherfucking laughed at us and said she didn’t care to take part and she knew nothing about any others.”

“My sibling,” you say gently. “You didn’t know. You tried your motherfucking level best. Don’t pile guilt from sweeps ago on yourself.”

There’s a moment of pause before Prakis says, “It was only meant to be a quick motherfucking mission. An easy as fuck thing as the Condesce tasked at him to take care of. Stomp down on some rebels or some other thing, Messiahs I hardly even remember anymore, it’s been so long. But if he said that, motherfuck, if Grand Highblood spoke that to him, he must have had some kind of feeling as he truly wouldn’t have returned. Why would he think such a thing when it was meant to be motherfucking less than nothing?”

“We have no way of knowing that my sibling,” you say at them. “Messiahs only know.”

Prakis looks up at you for a moment before taking a deep breath in, then all sighs it out long and low, and says, “That is some heavy motherfucking shit my brother. Excuse me for having suspicions on why the Condesce sent him and he failed to return.”

“It’s fine,” you say. “Ain’t nothing that can be done on it now regardless. She be dead, and there ain’t no knowledge to be gaining from casting suspicion on a corpse.”

Prakis laughs slightly, sounding in all pain from it, “Yeah. Truth.”

There’s a pause in the conversation before all educator Shigin speaks up, “Could be reason to be more careful with the Kindness.”

“I agree at you on that,” you mutter back, frowning slight.

After a moment, educator Kosezi says, “I’ll be certain to have what was said about Grand Highblood recorded.”

“Thanks, my sister,” you say quietly.

After a pause you say, “There be things as I all still got a need to do yet. I’m going to all grab some faithless and bring them to see our wicked carnival. Let’s all be making this shit rowdy as fuck, my family.”

“You want me to be liberating pupil Shrila from Sivils,” Prakis asks quietly, smirking a bit, slightly joking at you on what you mentioned earlier.

You snort and say, “If you want, my sibling. If you ain’t feeling up to it, I could easily all just speak with subjugglator Uzdavi myself.”

Prakis huffs, “I ain’t so old as for some slight shock to cause me to be out of commission.”

“I believe at you, Prakis,” you say honest with a smile.

Prakis smiles back, seeming to have more strength in at it now, “Thanks Gamzee.”

You stand and offer them a prong, which they take, and you all help them back up. You give them a quick hug, giving quick hugs to the educators Kosezi and Shigin as well, before all waving at them and saying, “Peace be my family. I’ll be all back before you can miss at me too awful much.”

“Be in peace and be in rage,” Prakis offers back with a slight wave and smile.

“Peace and rage,” educators Kosezi and Shigin say with bows.

Chapter Text

You get to the entrance of the church, walking to the back of the landing area where the few church ships are usually at. Painter's Choice be there and next to it, you spot the Grand’s ship, a medium sized vessel as has prongprints of every grand as has ever been all painted on it, each being all done up on in the Grand’s own blood.

You look at all the prints, seeing that they all be larger than your prong be even now at sixteen sweeps. You wonder at what ages they all must have been when they were made Grand. You spot at one as seems to be your color, yet you know it ain’t your print. This must be your ancestors’. You all be pressing your prong up next to it as if to compare and see that your prong be a fair sight smaller and skinnier in comparison. You drop your prong with a slight frown and continue walking, only to be pausing once again at your own prong print from six sweeps back. Ain’t being all that different since your previous major growth sprout had all been before you became Grand. You recall the anxieties as you had when you put this mark there, all going at dubbing the ship as Anus Capra.

You from then and you from now still be similar in ways as scare you. Not much older, not much different, still feeling as if some troll as is your age ain’t got rights to a title as controls many others older and much motherfucking wiser then yourself, still near paralysis in fright of what could happen to your family if you fuck up. Prakis all said you changed but you can’t be agreeing with them on that. You still be the same flawed ass mortal as misses your lusus despite everything, as still craves sopor when things feel too strong, as has a cracked and rotted pan. You still be fearful, you still be just as likely to make mistakes, but you find solace in one fucking thing. If you are the same as then, then that means you always had the capacity as to hold strong despite those fears. As willing and able to act and take whatever measures must be done to protect those you care most for.

You always knew you would fend for your family to your last breath, but knowing that you can do it even scared and inexperienced as you are, that is being something what gives you pride.

You walk to the entrance of the ship, hesitating for a second before going in and making your way to the cockpit and quickly setting the destination for the nearby planet as Karkat and the others be on. The ship all starts to get it’s move on and you sit, quickly messaging Karkat as he all but basically asked you to do.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]

TC: hEy i’m aLl bEiNg tO GeTtInG OvEr aT YoU iT ShOuLd aLl bE OnLy a fEw mInUtEs

CG: OH, JOY OF JOYS. IS IT ALREADY TIME TO GET WAY TO CLOSE AND PERSONAL TO A WHOLE FUCK-TON OF MURDER CLOWNS? I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT, IT’S LIKE MY WORST DAYMARE COME TRUE.

TC: AwW CoMe oN ThIs sHiT wIlL HaViNg bEiNg fUn tRuSt mY WoRd aT ThAt

CG: I VERY DISTINCTLY CAN RECALL EXACTLY ZERO TIMES IT’S BEEN A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE FUN IN THE MIDDLE OF A HIGH-STAKES SITUATION. BUT IF ENDURING A PSYCHO BLOOD CIRCUS IS WHAT YOU SAY IT TAKES TO END THE MENTAL ASSAULTS, WHICH TO MY AGGRAVATED SURPRISE IS NO LONGER THE ONLY FUCKING ISSUE I HAVE TO DEAL WITH, I’M GOING TO TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT SINCE YOU KNOW THESE CLOWNS THE BEST.

TC: KaRkAt yOu aIn’t hAvInG To cOmE If yOu aLl aIn’t wAnTiNg To

CG: WHAT, WHY ARE YOU SAYING THAT NOW, OF ALL TIMES?

TC: It bE AlL To sOuNdInG As lIkE YoU AiN’T WaNtInG FoR To cOmE At iN ChUrCh, Is aLl

TC: AnD I GoT At nO DeSiRe fOr fOrCiNg iT AlL On yOu :o(

CG: NO THAT’S. UGH, THAT’S NOT THE FUCKING PROBLEM, OKAY? IT’S JUST THAT THERE IS STILL A LOT OF SHIT WE HAVE TO DO AND NO FUCKING TIME FOR ANY OF IT BECAUSE FEFERI IS IMPATIENT ABOUT THIS, NOT TO EVEN MENTION THE FUCKING WEIRDOS WHO ATTACKED US AND COULD ATTACK US *A-FUCKING-GAIN*.

TC: I AlL KnOw WhAt yOu mEaN On hAvInG ShIt tO Be dOiNg

TC: i’m bEiNg tO SkEpTiCaL As yOuR BaTtLeShIp WoUlD Be aTtAcKeD

TC: BuT ThEm hErEtIcS ArE BeInG AlL DeAlT WiTh, MaRk mY WoRd mY FaMiLy dOeS ThEiR WoRk wElL AnD ThEy wIlL MaKe tHoSe mOtHeR FuCkErS PaY FoR WhAt aLl tHeY DoNe

TC: So tHaT AiN’T A ThInG So MuCh aS I ThInK ShOuLd bE A TrUe cOnCeRn

TC: ThOuGh mY FaMiLy AiN’T GoNnA Be aT SeArChInG On tHe nIgHt oF InItIaTiOn

CG: I THINK MY THRESHECUTIONERS AND I CAN HANDLE OURSELVES FOR THAT ONE NIGHT.

TC: SwEeT NoW As fOr tHe oThEr sHiT

TC: i cAn’t bE HeLpiNg wItH FeFeRi mUcH, sEeInG As sHe’s aLl bEiNg hEr oWn tRoLl

TC: BuT FiGuRiNg oUt aLl tHaT OtHeR ShIt iS AlL BeInG A PaRt Of wHy i aLl wAnT FoR YoU To cOmE CaUsE We bOtH Do aLl hAvE ShIt aS NeEdS SpOkE On aBoUt i fIgUrE

TC: i jUsT AlL FiGuReD ThErE WeReN’T BeInG No hArM As tO AlL TrY To hAvE A LiTtLe MoThEr fUcKiN BiT Of fUn wHiLe wE DiD At tHaT EsPeCiAlLy sEeInG As wE StIlL GoT A CoUpLe oF NiGhTs tIlL InItIaTiOn aNd aIn’t nOnE Of uS LeAvInG TiL AfTeR ThEn aNy hOw

TC: WhEn wE GeT BaCk aT FeFeRi wE CaN Be aT WoRrYiNg oN tHiS ShIt aS WiLl hOpEfUlLy bE AlL To wOrKeD OuT PeAcEfUl

TC: uNtIl tHeN FeFeRi cAn’t bE CoMpLaInInG On wHaT ShE DoN’T KnOw tO Be hApPeNiNg sO AgAiN I Be sEeInG On aT No hArM To tRy aT ReLaXiNg iN ThE ShOrT TiMe aS We aRe bEiNg aBlE To

CG: HOLY SHIT IS THIS SCHEMING I’M READING? IS THIS AN ACTUAL REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE OF YOU HAVING SOME GODDAMN FORESIGHT TO GET SHIT DONE AND NOT JUST GOOF OFF USELESSLY? I MEAN, YOU’RE ALSO USING THAT AFOREMENTIONED SCHEMING TO PLAN SOME TIME TO LITERALLY GOOF OFF, BUT I AM SOMEWHAT GENUINELY SURPRISED THAT IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE NOT JUST DOING RANDOM RECKLESS SHIT? I DON’T THINK YOU’RE STUPID OR HARMLESS OR ANYTHING, BUT YOU HAVE TO ADMIT YOU’VE BEEN KIND OF ACTING LIKE AN UNPREDICTABLE ASSHOLE. WHICH I’M NOT TOTALLY CONVINCED ISN’T SOMEWHAT ON PURPOSE. ANY WHO, I THOUGHT YOU YOURSELF SAID FORETHOUGHT WASN’T YOUR THING, SO WHAT THE HECK DUDE?

TC: HaHaHaHaHa

TC: It aIn’t rEaLlY BuT ThAt dOn’t mEaN I CaN’T If i hAvE ThE NeEd

TC: AnD NeEd i wElL MoThErFuCkInG HaVe wItH My fAmIlY In tRoUbLe

CG: FAIR ENOUGH. YOU HERE YET THOUGH? I FEEL LIKE THERE’S A LONG NIGHT AHEAD OF US AND I WANT TO GET A MOVE ON.

TC: YeAh i aLl sHoUlD Be aT LaNdInG SoOn

CG: GOOD, IT’S ABOUT TIME WE GOT THIS HORROR SHOW ON THE ROAD.

TC: PfFtT YoU JuSt lIkE ThRoWiNg iNsUlTs oUt fOr nO ReAsOn aSiDe fRoM HaViNg tHe aBiLiTy fOr It

CG: OH LOOK, THE CLOWN LEARNS. RECORD THIS ON THE ALTERNIAN CALENDAR FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO WONDER WHO THE FUCK CARES.

TC: I SuPpOsE It cOuLd aLl bE MaRkEd aT ThE SaMe tImE As yOu pRoPeRlY CeLeBrAtE My bEiNg cOrReCt fOr tHe sUpPoSeD FiRsT TiMe oR WhAtEvEr :oP

TC: AiGhT I AlL Be lAnDeD

CG: OKAY BERGIS AND I WILL BE OUT SHORTLY

carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You smile and all make your way out of your ship, and you see at that the church’s battleship Heretic’s Fear is nearby Karkat’s. Heretic’s Fear be a huge ship, near twice the size of Karkat’s battleship. It’s the church’s military ship, and it be painted by the blood splatters of heretics over the sweeps. You wonder if that means there’s bright red somewhere on it, but that thought all goes twisted weird in you and you move on from the ship, uncertain as to if you truly want to know on that shit all undeniable.

You walk towards Karkat’s battleship and meet Karkat and Bergis just outside of it. Karkat does a double-take at Heretic’s Fear and hisses out, “What the fuck.”

“Heretic’s Fear, the church’s battleship,” you say quietly. “Means my family is running about.”

Karkat grimaces and you take the moment to gesture at your ship and say, “Now all say hello to Anus Capra, my motherfucking ship.”

Karkat looks over, rolling his gander bulbs as he does so, muttering, “By the way, I still see no point in naming inanimate objects. Come on, let’s just go already.”

You chuckle slightly, turning and walking back to your ship as you be saying, “Aight kin, I all be hearing at your impatience.”

You all go back onto your ship and you quickly all set the ship to go back to church. Once that all be done figured out, you turn to your faithless guests, speaking all at them, “Now, we about to enter the church my unfaithful brethren. Any carnival is a sight most faithless ain’t never gonna be able to see in all their glory, but you all get special motherfucking invites for the next couple of nights if you want for it. I all suggest you take all the chance to be merry in this rare opportunity as you have to experience my family all celebrating the newest initiates as have come to us.”

“So what, you’re not going to mention how we’re walking into a murder hive of trolls who will undoubtedly mark us as targets,” Karkat asks, glaring at you slightly.

You frown and sigh, glancing away briefly before looking back and saying, “It ain’t smart to forget the danger, no, but that don’t mean you got to be at stressful constant lookout. Certain you will get looks, and probable whisperings behind your backs, but as long as you be near a family member, you will be safe from harm. Even as I know you don’t know nor trust many of the family members, and got every motherfucking right and reason for that, you got me and you got them hatchmates. You will be secure enough as to take time to motherfucking unwind some, damn kin, put trust in my word on this.”

Karkat frowns and you continue, “The only reason as I didn’t mention the danger is because I’ve already done taken precautions for your security and I want for no fucking worrying thoughts to drive you frothing with barely hidden anxiety.”

“But keeping important shit away from trolls only causes issues,” Karkat argues calmly. “If we don’t know what the fuck to expect we can’t goddamn prepare.”

“May be as that is all true in a sense,” you agree. “But we be going into church, and keep in your pan that every motherfucking purple has chucklevoodoos. My kin if you make recall at what the ‘voodoos take hold onto and use, then look me in the motherfucking face and tell me all that stress ain’t coming from some form of fear. Being afraid all only brings unto you more motherfucking focus from the family. Makes you to be standing out more then what you already will.”

“I,” Karkat stops, closes his talk blaster, then takes a breath in and out. “Yeah okay, that makes sense I guess, but my position stands and is completely valid.”

You blink and shrug, “Well I don’t all know what exact to tell you as I already haven’t made mention on. Can’t speculate at every motherfucking possibility as could be happening.”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and says, “Yeah, well, what you’ve said so far is pretty self-explanatory. Gossiping assholes who should leave us alone as long as we stay close enough to other clowns.”

You scoff slightly and suddenly remember something, saying, “I did make recall at something just now though.”

Karkat raises an eyebrow at you and asks, “What?”

“In church there be a, well an ambient or residual feeling of all the chucklevoodoos? There be a lot of us there and it kind of just,” you gesture to your horns vaguely, “adds up I motherfucking guess. Figured I should mention since Bergis can sense shit.”

You look to Bergis and say, “Apologies as I couldn’t make recall at this sooner.”

Bergis hesitates before shrugging and saying, “It’s fine. I think I can manage.”

You nod slightly and look back to Karkat, saying, “There. Now all we have to do is wait a little while longer and then we’ll have all arrived and be able to enjoy the church.”

Karkat sighs, “Yeah okay, whatever, I’ll believe it when I see it.”

You grin widely and Karkat all grimaces at you like he be frustrated with your excitement. You chuckle softly and before you can make reply, Bergis says, “Woah, what’s that out the window?”

You turn to look, having idea already at what he be seeing. Sure enough, the church is in view, and you look back to look at Karkat and Bergis as you say, “Welcome to the motherfucking church.”

“Holy shit, what the fuck,” Karkat says, “How large is this place?”

You shrug, “Ain’t sure in exact, but large enough to let near two hundred trolls to all live and sleep with plenty of space.”

Now that you think on it, the church’s living space might have to expand soon. Ain’t been a while since you’ve seen the church so crammed as you briefly saw at before you left to pick these two up.

Karkat shakes his nugbone and mutters all at himself, “Just what the hell have I agreed to.”

You laugh slightly, amused by him, and Karkat says, “Yeah, laugh it up now while you can.”

You grin at him and your ship all stops moving, having done landed on the planet. You walk forward, beckoning them to follow with a slight jerk of your nugbone. They follow you as you walk out the ship and to the entrance.

The purples there smile at you, both bowing and greeting you, “Grand Pulpiteer, welcome.”

“You bring unfaithful,” one of them questions, glaring at your guests slightly.

You nod and reply, “Sure do. Be peace now, they be here to enjoy the carnival my family.”

They bothbow again and say, “Of course, Grand.”

You walk by and one of them greets the two following you with a quiet hiss, “The church welcomes you, unfaithful.”

The church be full of activity, musicians playing and marching, clowns riding one-wheel devices, walking on stilts, performing magic tricks, jugglers and contortionists all doing as they do at best, all kinds of shit as to be enjoying at. Stands all lay in waiting under the cover top, food and fun little games, clowns young and old alike all bustling about and making at merry.

“Whoa,” you hear Bergis mutter, “That’s a lot of purple bloods.”

“Worst daymare come true,” Karkat hisses. You can’t help but scoff at him for bringing up the shit as he mentioned earlier. For all you know he’s at fear and got every right to be so, he ain’t sending off any sharp or loud signals so you ain’t too awful concerned on of your family becoming unduly interested in him.

“So how do we find Shrila,” Bergis asks.

“The three clown bozos are messaging me about being by the painting area with him, wherever the fuck that is,” Karkat states.

You grin wide and say, “Wicked, let’s get there then.”

You turn towards where the painters usually set up outside of the cover top, in a wide area as is in between the main church and one of the training tents. Cloth canvases are spread out over the ground with several trolls kneeling on them and spreading varied colors with their prongs. You spot the trolls as you are being to look for on one of the canvases closer to the cover top. Gaxxic is the first to look up at you, waving at you all. You wave back as the others look up, and you grin when you see Shrila smiling and wearing the initiate clown makeup.

Shrila all must see Bergis, for he stands up and exclaims, “Bergis!”

You look over to see Bergis looking surprised in slight before he smiles and walks towards Shrila. Shrila walks towards him and Bergis reaches out for him, but hesitates half way, and you now be realizing that you’re kind of intruding on a private moment, but you see that all of you as are around are watching them and decide that it ain’t too much of a problem seeing as you ain’t the only one. Shrila grabs Bergis’s prong and brings it to his cheek, smile all gentle care.

Bergis goes a little rusty in the face and chuckles, muttering, “Is it weird how much I think this look suits you?”

Shrila goes blue on his auricular shells and neck at that, the three hatchmates all start gentle bumping elbows and shoving each other, and you notice they be all purple in their auricular shells as well. Karkat must notice them as well and looks at you all confused and you smirk, gesturing to Shrila and Bergis before saying loud enough for all of them to hear, “It’s always being a nervous thing as to introduce a quadrant to a new face, even within the faith, so having an unfaithful quadrant complement it as such means a whole motherfucking lot.”

“Oh,” you hear Bergis say softly.

You glance at Gaxxic and quickly sign ‘watch them’. Gaxxic nods and you turn to Karkat slightly, gesturing for you two to departure with a jerk of your nugbone. Karkat hesitates, glancing at Shrila and Bergis before looking back at you with a nod. You take that as being your sign of him being ready and willing to leave before you walk away, slightly aiming to get him away from the painters. Much as you trust your family, tempting the painters with blood his color for too long ain’t all a good thing. Them artistic motherfuckers do get all intense when something causes them to get all inspired and the last thing you need right now is for your family to try petitioning aimed at obtaining Karkat’s blood for painting.

“So, is it safe to leave those two alone,” Karkat asks quietly as he walks beside you.

You turn to look at him as you smile and say, “Should be, but either way Gaxxic and her hatchmates will all be keeping a watch at them to ensure they be all unharmed.”

“Wouldn’t that kind of hinder your whole date idea,” Karkat questions of you.

“Nah,” you reply with a slight chuckle, “Got them set to watch without Bergis or Shrila knowing. Gaxxic is a laughsassin, and Adamel and Iunond all know at the basics, so Shrila and Bergis should all not even know they are being watched.”

“That is,” Karkat pauses before finishing, “a variety of creepy that I cannot even quantify with words, but I guess as long as my threshecutioners are safe, I can’t complain too much.”

“Good to hear,” you tease him a bit, smirking at him. Karkat seems to get that you be jesting at him and groans while rolling his gander bulbs.

After a moment of pause, he asks, “By the way, that stuff they were painting with back there, that was blood, wasn’t it?”

You hesitate before asking back at him, “You sure you really want the honest answer kin?”

Karkat grimaces and mutters, “That’s as good as a confirmation, I hope you realize that.”

You hum ambiguously, not really wanting to answer in truth. Since Feferi was made Empress, your family hasn’t been all that able to get fresh paint, and for all preservation of paint is a family secret, you think the acquiring of fresh paint might all become a challenge under Feferi’s reign. Though you set the family to acquire paint from the heretics once they ain’t useful for information no more, there’s no telling how much will come from that, and either way it won’t last forever. So it still be a matter to think on and discuss at length another motherfucking time, after you can ensure the safety of your family.

“Right okay, moving on from that grim as fuck thought,” Karkat says. You grin, excited to show him around the carnival and such, but Karkat says, “Let’s move on to talking about all the shit we need to get done.”

“Aww,” you softly complain, smile dropping. “Kin, we got time, can’t we all just enjoy the carnival tonight?”

Karkat frowns at you and replies, “How am I expected to enjoy anything when my think pan is screaming at me about getting shit done? I’m fucking worried about this shit, okay, and I know you are too. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even attempt anything resembling relaxation when I’m stressed over this clusterfuck.”

You frown and glance away, guiltily thinking on how you always be the best at avoiding shit as you get too stressed on. Karkat all goes on to be saying, “If you want me to truly enjoy this horror show you fondly call a carnival, I need this shit done first. So, in other words, I’d rather we get it done tonight Gamzee.”

You sigh through your cartilaginous nub and pause before looking at him with a slight pout and muttering reply, “Aight kin, if you all do be insisting.”

Karkat glares at you slightly and you sigh loudly, turning towards the main church and saying, “This way kin, more privacy since you all mentioned on preferring that what feels like half a lifetime ago.”

You walk into the main church, seeing it all be set up for a large event, and you gesture for Karkat to stay close as you walk around the edge, careful to stay out of the way of the family as are running around all busy. Must be changing between acts, you figure.

“This place is fucking huge,” Karkat hisses quietly, looking around the tent.

You make it to the flap as leads to your block and you move it aside for Karkat, saying at him as he walks in, “This be my block, it should all be private enough.”

You walk in after Karkat, seeing him look over your block all brisk and business-like, before he turns to you and asks, “What, you giggleshits don’t have recuperacoons?”

You visibly flinch and look away before saying, “I don’t.”

Karkat seems to hesitate before saying, “Fuck, I totally just fucking stepped onto something I shouldn’t have, didn’t I?”

You shrug and quickly change the subject by looking at him and asking, “So you wanted for speaking on the shit as needs to be done?”

Karkat is frowning, but answers you, “Yeah.”

You relax a bit and ask, “You all went and mentioned Feferi was getting all impatient with you?”

Karkat scowls and rolls his gander bulbs as he says, “Not with me, specifically, but she was expressing it to me, if that’s what you mean.”

You pause for a moment before saying, “If there was shit as I was meant to understand there, you might all have to be a bit motherfucking clearer at me kin.”

Karkat looks complete unimpressed with you and says, “She is impatient about you and only you.”

You blink and Karkat goes on, gesturing his arms around and looking increasingly exasperated as he goes on, “She has no actual problems with me, or my plans, or really even your plan to talk to your family. She is frustrated with how long it’s taking and she solely blaming you for that? She is just really focused on complaining about you, over really dumb shit honestly?”

You shrug, “I can’t be helping, I ain’t got no control over time. Can’t help as she feels like being all laying blame on me neither. She trusts you but not me, it’s plain as motherfucking night, and I can’t be doing nothing as would change that. Nor do I have a particular desire in of it.”

Karkat smacks a prong to his forehead, then after a moment of pause, he lowers his prong and looks at you all intent as he asks, “Can you guess why Feferi is so fucking obsessed with you?”

“You got me on that kin,” you say with a frown. “Fish got so much salt and arrogance, they always like to be flashy like as a lure in water, but I ain’t gonna be dumb enough to bite into it.”

Karkat sighs and mutters, “You are oblivious as fuck. Whatever, let’s drop the whole Feferi thing for now. Like you said, there’s no way to speed this up and whether she likes it or not, she’s going to have to wait. Moving right on, what exactly is the plan that you apparently have?”

“Speak with the family and tell them what’s all being what,” you reply. “Let them know all clear that they need to stop their shit, as well as all telling them of faithless as are not purple.”

Karkat stares at you for a moment before asking, “That’s it? You just talk to them and fully expect them to just cooperate without any arguments?”

You glance away with a slight wince, remembering as you told at him that you had no control over your family. You kind of don’t in truth, at least not the kind as unfaithful think you do. Your family be their own trolls as make decisions and have beliefs all on their own, you can’t and all wouldn’t want for forcing them to all think and act as you do. Your influence over the faithful ain’t like it be in the military or such, where orders are followed ‘cause they have to. As Grand, your job is to tell the family what you think be best for them, and they listen at and act on what you say in respect. They can be disagreeing and complaining, sometimes even debating with or convincing a motherfucker to change their pan on over it, but they still listen in the end because they trust whatever your decision be.

Still all technical, you lied to him, or at least all obscured the truth for you had no trust in of him at the time. You feel as you can trust him now, but if you want for him to truly and fully trust in you, you need to first all be honest about the lies as you told at him. You can only hope at what he won’t get all angry at you for it.

You look back at him and say, “I got to be admitting something at you kin.”

You pause to rub the back of your neck as you say, “I all was being a bit untruthful when I spoke at you about my influence over the faithful. I still can’t be changing what they think or make them agree all with no disputes, but they will undoubtedly listen to what I say regardless.”

Karkat looks at you for a moment before asking, “You lied to me when we first met and what, am I supposed to be surprised by the fact that you weren’t completely honest with me? I was a troll you didn’t know or trust, and not part of your crazy as fuck family, so why the fuck would you have trusted me? Honestly, I would be more surprised if you had trusted me since you had no real reason to.”

You frown slightly despite the relief at hearing him being so unbothered by your technical lie, and say at him, “Yeah, but I wanted to all be frank at you about it for I have seen you are trustworthy. I hope you can still be trusting my word, I do be apologizing for lying back then, even as if I had a good reason.”

Karkat huffs and smirks, saying, “Still weird, but okay. As psychotic as I know you are, I still do feel like I can trust you. It really doesn’t bother me that you lied or whatever at first, I mean you even mentioned something about being able to lie during that conversation, so I already took what you told me with a bit of skepticism. I didn’t really trust you either at the time, and I don’t really know about you, but I am much more used to trolls acting at least passive-aggressive when they first meet.”

You scoff and smile, saying, “Outside the faith, yeah, be real accustomed to that shit as you make mention on of.”

Karkat nods slightly and says, “Anyway, it’s in the past, even if the past is what, three nights ago? Fuck, it feels like these last few nights have been stretched out too long.”

“Truth,” you mutter slightly, all sharing in his voiced complaint.

“But yeah,” Karkat says, “So you just talk to them and it’s all going to stop? Excuse my doubt on this, but it just seems a bit too convenient?”

You hum and say, “Well, I would all like to speak in personal with those as done frightened the Imperial Army, scold them real proper and such. It may all take time as to be figuring out which family members all did it, but that’s a thing as can be dealt with as time comes to pass. For now, I tell at my family in no terms unclear that attacking ain’t a thing for them to be doing without my say-so, and they all will listen. All I be needing to do is get all a bit strict at them and, Messiahs willing, Feferi will settle on the matter and no trouble will come my family’s way.”

“Does this mean we won’t be training my threshecutioners anymore,” Karkat asks.

You shrug and say blunt truthful, “I never did truly think that would work out as like you had planned for it to work.”

Karkat scoffs and mutters, “You know there’s a very small part of me that is almost beginning to miss you not being direct and honest. It’s hardly a strong part, and mostly just like, how did I not notice you were being that fucking cunning and insolent in the first place.”

You smirk and say, “Clowns be good as fuck at keeping shit secret.”

“I’ll give you that,” Karkat grumbles. Then, after seeming to study you, Karkat asks, “Are you worried about Feferi’s reaction?”

You frown and say, “I am. Even if I tell of my family these things, all I got to ensure they are safe from harm is what word Feferi has spoken at me, and to be motherfucking level with you, I don’t trust in her worth shit. She might all try to attack regardless, part of me thinks all suspiciously, and then this would have all been for naught.”

Karkat frowns and says, “I can’t make you trust Feferi, but trust me when I say I’ll do everything in my power to prevent this from becoming war.”

Karkat glances away for a second before looking back and saying, “And that’s not just because I don’t want my threshecutioners to fight your family. I mean, that’s a huge thing too because you all would probably kill us, psionics or not. But it’s also because I know if it comes down to it, the faithful I have earned the trust of will go to fight with their family. I know that, that’s not an issue for me. It’s not even like it’s up to me what they choose to do either way, but that would mean they have to fight against their hatefriends and quadrants sometimes.”

Karkat pauses, looking away once again and muttering, “That’s just fucked up, okay, I might be a troll, but I have fucking sympathy.”

You feel yourself soften a bit as you say, “I got understanding at that. That’s not a thing I had even gotten to worry on of, but it certain would be a thing as I wouldn’t want to put no troll through, let alone my family. Another motherfucking reason to be getting this settled problem-free.”

Karkat looks at you for a moment before quietly saying, “Yeah.”

After a moment, he smirks and makes like he’s joking with you as he says, “Guess that means we won’t get to practice fight again then. What a fucking shame.”

You snort and laugh, then you say, “Ah, fuck, guess you’re right on about that. Probably all for the best though.”

“By the way,” Karkat says, “I haven’t told Feferi about the whole random attack yet. I figured that if I put off telling her for a little bit, your clowns could potentially wrap it up before she even knows it’s an issue. She can’t fucking complain too much if it’s already finished, you know?”

You smile and say, “I appreciate you trusting my family to handle this shit. Don’t go and get yourself in trouble for it or nothing, but I do all welcome the time you be giving us to do shit without Feferi getting all riled up on over it.”

Karkat shrugs slightly and you hesitate before all saying, “So my kin, now as I have gained and earned trust with you, I got a question as I need answered by you. Could all be as it is clear through what you’ve spoken so far, but still I’d like to be hearing it direct and clear from you.”

Karkat asks, “What is it?”

You look at him serious as you ask, “You truthfully meant it when you first spoke on wanting to not cause harm to my family? And all the times after, I suppose?”

Karkat blinks like you surprised him, but his face goes serious as he replies, “I did. I mean it, I would really like no one to be hurt because of this shit.”

“That all you want,” you ask. “When I all speak at my family and they all listen to me, will they be left alone and uninterrogated?”

Karkat pauses, frowning slightly and saying, “That’s all I want. You tell me that the problem’s been solved, and I, I’ll trust you, okay? After that we might have to worry about convincing Feferi, but I promise that I will do everything in my power to make sure your family is left alone after you speak to them, is that acceptable?”

You smile genuinely and say, “More than I expected when we first met. I believe you mean what you say, I trust in your words.”

You bow to him and say soft and sincere, “Thank you, Martinet.”

You stand back up to see Karkat staring at you with a slightly flushed face and what look as if he wants to ask ‘what the fuck’ at you. You smile softly and say, “I should go speak at my family then. Get this shit all smoothed out on my end so all we got to be worrying on about is wrangling in the fuchsia fish.”

“Wait,” Karkat says. You tilt your nugbone and wait for him to continue. “I, don’t take this as an insult or anything, I’m just genuinely wondering something.”

“What is it being,” you question of him.

Karkat pauses before asking, “Why would they even do what they did without your say-so in the first place? Didn’t you mention that you told them to follow the Empress’s rules? Trying to frighten the Imperial Army doesn’t seem to be exactly a thing that would count as listening to that. I’m still not sure who it even was, is there a chance it was purples outside the family?”

You hum and frown, thinking on it for a moment before muttering, “Don’t think so. If they ain’t faithful, why would they have retreated all when they did?”

Karkat grunts softly, then mutters, “I guess you have a bit of a point there. Still, why would they do it?”

“Don’t know,” you reply all truthful, “Could have all simply been a prank or some such as gone wrong.”

Karkat is frowning, seeming unsatisfied with your reply. You want to reach out and place a prong on his shoulder, but you don’t. Instead you point to the exit of your block with your thumb and say, “Come on kin, time to speak at what needs to be spoken.”

You and Karkat walk out of your block, once again walking around the edge of the tent as has finished setting up for the act. You notice that they seemed to have all set up for the finale for tonight and get at an idea, getting out the phone Karkat gave you.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling underDarkness [UD]

TC: mInD AlL TeLlInG ShRiLa aNd bErGiS AbOuT ThE FiNaLe aS Is bEiNg aT In tHe mAiN TeNt sO ThEy bE To cOmInG HeRe

UD: :X !

UD: :X [O K A Y]

UD: :X :>

underDarkness [UD] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You go back to the memo as brother Mimica set up real quick, hoping to get all the family in this tent.

terminallyCapricious [TC] responded to memo.

TC: I Be wAnTiNg fOr tO SpEaK At aLl tHe fAmIlY In tHe mAiN TeNt bEfOrE ThE FiNaLe, SpReAd wOrD

Then you turn to Karkat and say, “All the family will to be showing up here soon, and I will all speak at them, but after that be done, the finale is set to be performed and I all insist that you should try to enjoy at it.”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and mutters, “You are a persistent bastard, I hope you know that. As long as you talk to them, I guess I can subject myself to the torment of this literal circus act.”

You chuckle and say, “Sounds like we got an agreement then, my kin.”

Karkat sighs softly, but doesn’t contest you, so you all be to take that as agreement until he verbal says otherwise.

“Faithful Minister,” someone calls at you and you turn to look at them. The sibling is one you don’t recognize, their makeup all being light grey base with a dark grey star over one gander bulb and rust over their lips.

You smile and greet them, “Hey my sibling, what’s going on?”

“Heard you were going to speaking some things at us,” they say. They glance at Karkat quickly before asking you, “Was just wondering if it had something to do with the outsider that’s been following you around.”

You smirk and reply, “I suppose you’ll all find out when I speak to everyone.”

They huff, and you smile a bit fonder, saying, “Really ain’t about him if that all be satisfying what curiosity you got. All as I’ll say for now though.”

They bow and say, “I understand, Faithful Minister.”

Then they walk away and Karkat asks, “Okay why do some of them call you that? I thought you were Grand Pulpiteer?”

“Faithful Minister is a title I got as is more of less for faithful use only,” you reply.

After a pause Karkat sighs and mutters, “There are so many levels of weirdness, why do I even try to understand.”

You laugh sudden and loud, caught off guard by his cynicism. Damn, that dry fed-up tone is major motherfucking funny to you.

“He laughs and suddenly everything gets even weirder,” Karkat goes on in that same tone, “Does this hopbeast hole ever end?”

You chuckle and jostle him all careful-friendly, “Just the tone you are using, ah motherfuck, how do you even do it?”

“It starts by being perpetually annoyed at everything that exists,” he says, and the tone still be the same as you find funny, but that shit sounded all too motherfucking real. To close to something as you can’t name.

“Uh,” you say, pausing all awkward, “I step on some glass or shit as I shouldn’t have?”

Karkat looks at you for a minute before shrugging and saying, “Not really.”

You can’t tell if he’s being truthful or not, and some part of you all remembers the way he ranted on about everything being shit a while ago, then that same part buzzes worry in your pan. Just then though, the tent all gets an influx of family. After a few moments, Gaxxic and her hatchmates walk up to you and Karkat, Shrila and Bergis all following them. You wave at her and sign ‘watch Martinet as well’. Gaxxic gives you a quick ‘okay’ sign and you smile before all walking up in front of where everyone is gathered.

Your family is watching you intently and you have a flash of a memory of the last time you stood in front of them like this, but you push it off as much as you can. One of Prakis’s helpful tactics as they gave you was that even if you feel differently, act confident. Act it until you can do it honestly. You ain’t got no training in acting, but you figure you can try. Also at their advice, you pull gently on memories of preaching, for that is a thing you are having familiarity with and it be similar to this.

Your pan settles somewhere almost calm and you smile, bowing slightly and greeting all of those around you, “Hello my family. Those of you who are unfaithful, I be welcoming at you as well. I am most motherfucking glad that you all have gathered here. There will be a finale here for you all to be seeing at shortly, and after that the carnival will all be done for tonight, but as Grand of this carnival I all had something as I needed to tell at my family and I figured that this would be as good a time as any to speak to my family.”

You exhale a slightly shaking breath before continuing, “My most faithful family, all you as have gathered here in the mirthful holy church for this carnival of commencement, I have come to realization that I have something as I need to be clear and strict at you all about.”

You pause to look them over, seeing if any squirm like scolded wigglers. There be a huge mass of trolls though and you honest can’t tell, so you go on, “As I was out of church, I heard of on my family subjecting some outsiders to their chucklevoodoos. Now normal this would not even be a thing as needed to be mentioned on, but the ones as were exposed to the terror and fear us purple have were members of the Imperial Army. Now I know all you siblings here know of how them fish-trolls be getting when they perceive themselves to be all challenged or aggressed. Motherfuckers can’t take a joke, nor can most of them tell one worth their lives.”

You hear a soft ripple of quiet laughter and see a few flashing grins, and you hold back a smile of your own as you go on, “Despite what all was intended when the Imperial Army was tormented by chucklevoodoos, it has caused some issues with the Empress.”

The family goes silent, a rush of anxiety hitting your horns like a rogue wave, but you push back and send out a signal of peace and ease as you say, “Now as your Grand, I am dealing with this matter and ensuring the faith and family’s safety. I be here not as to warn you of danger, it has not come to that and it will not come to that, Messiahs willing. I only be up here as to let it be known in no uncertain terms that the family is not to do anything as could be seen as attacking to the faithless unless you have my personal motherfucking permission.”

You pause to take a few calming breaths, looking at your family as you do so. Once you have some control of your breathing, you go on to say, “On a separate note, I have something of a lighter nature to be telling you. My family, I have come to learn that faithful do not always have purple blood. Even as if those family members don’t share our color, they share our faith and I want you all to remember that if they have proven themselves enough to earn makeup, they is family and I expect that they will be treated as such regardless of the hue in their veins.”

You hesitate slightly before saying quiet and remorseful, “I know I ain’t spoke at you all in six sweeps, and that when I did first speak at you all that time ago, it was something in terms unclear and unsure. For these things, I make at most sincere apology.”

You bow to them low for a moment before standing again and saying, “I am a flawed ass mortal my family, but I want us safe foremost, and you can trust at that. I be appreciating your sponge clots all being turned at me for this, so as long as there be no questions all for me on either thing I spoke on, you all can enjoy the finale to your content.”

You pause to see if anyone has anything to ask of you, but no one tries to get your attention, so you smile and bow all showy, saying, “Then I’ll all let the show start.”

You walk back to Karkat and the others, prongs slightly shaking as you smile at him and say, “Aight kin. My family’s been told all as they needed to know.”

Karkat pauses before sighing roughly, and you smile wide as you turn around to watch the finale, all saying at Karkat, “Now we get to finally motherfucking enjoy ourselves.”

Chapter Text

You roll over onto your side, breathing in deep, waking to the feeling of being rested and surrounded by family is the first thing you really register, and you just lay there for a little bit, soaking in the joy of those things. You be feeling better then you have in what feels like sweeps. Ain’t nothing like sleeping at hive, you suppose. After a little while, you all be feeling the urge to stretch. You do so, toes curling as you yawn, and after a minute you sit up, still pan-blurred from waking. You lick your dry lips and pull a wicked elixir bottle out of your sleeping pile, chugging what’s left in the bottle before burying it deeper into the clothes. You sit, hair sleep-mussed and blocking most your vision, you sigh out a soft yawn and get up, walking over to your vanity. After a tussle with both your hair and ‘dex, you get most of what monstrosity as you claim to be hair tied up, so that it don’t fall in your face as you try to put your makeup on. Ain’t something you always do, but you’re still mostly asleep and you ain’t wanting to deal with the wild curls right now. You offer a quiet-muttered prayer for your makeup, and have to deal with more of your junk being ejected from your ‘dex, before Messiahs finally grant you what you need out of your miracle modus. The only thing really left in your ‘dex after the debacle is your horn pile. They really want to fuck with you about this, goddamn.

You’re uncertain if that’s them all still going for pranking you, or if it’s some serious matter as they be trying to call to your attention, and even as if they were trying to bring a serious matter to your attention about that shit, you ain’t certain if it’s a warning or more of ‘get on with it’. Your pan grumbles vaguely, still too asleep to want to contemplate this shit. As you put your makeup on, you do think about Karkat and how he all admitted that the finale was impressive to watch. He also mentioned that your family was ‘almost terrifyingly trusting of each other’ when he saw at the coordinated falls where one motherfucker would jump off something and others would catch them before they hit the ground. You had asked what the fuck he expected, and he just shrugged with a confused noise.

After you get your makeup on, you set to trying to decide which shit as was spat out of your ‘dex should all go back in. You leave your one-wheel device in your block where it fell, your hair ties go back in after you take the one out your hair, as does your makeup. You are careful to not leave your rubber juggling balls laying around though. You done tripped over enough shit throughout your lifespan already, thank you very motherfucking much, your horns be in your ‘dex for just the same motherfucking reason. You carefully gather them from the floor and decide to stuff them into your sleeping pile. You find the phone Karkat gave you, miraculously unbroken, and pick it up to see that you have messages on trollian from Karkat.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] started trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

CG: HEY ASSHOLE, GET UP.

CG: GAMZEE, WHAT THE FUCK, I KIND OF NEED YOU TO WAKE THE FUCK UP? PRETTY PLEASE??

CG: GODDAMN IT.

CG: WE STILL NEED TO CLOSE THIS DEAL AND WRAP IT UP IN A FUCKING PRETTY ASS PURPLE BOW OR SOME SHIT, SO IF YOU COULD MANAGE TO GET YOU AND YOUR TALL-ASS HORNS OVER HERE SO WE CAN GET MOVING, THAT WOULD BE NICE. I MEAN, IT'S NOT LIKE WE STILL HAVE TO FUCKING DEAL WITH THE GODDAMN EMPRESS OF OUR EMPIRE OR ANYTHING.

terminallyCapricious [TC] is offline!

CG: ANY FUCKING SECOND GAMZEE. JUST CHIME IN WITH A FUCKING HONK OR SOME SHIT IF YOU'RE NOT AWAKE ENOUGH TO FORM SENTENCES. YOU'RE A FUCKING CLOWN SO HONKING SHOULD BE EASY, RIGHT? HELL, RIGHT NOW I'D BE HAPPY WITH ANY SIGN THAT YOU ARE AWAKE.

CG: NOTHING? HELL.

CG: IT'S TOTALLY NOT A PRESSING ISSUE OR ANYTHING, NOT AT FUCKING ALL, ALL THE GODDAMN TIME IN THE WORLD HERE. FEFERI RIDING MY ASS ABOUT HOW THIS HOOFBEASTMANURE WENT DOWN AND WHETHER OR NOT SHE NEEDS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT A WAR. YOU KNOW, THE THING THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF US GOING TO YOUR PSYCHO CIRCUS? OR AT LEAST THAT WAS THE POINT FOR ME, I'M PRETTY SURE YOU WERE JUST HAPPY TO BE BACK WITH YOUR HIVESHIT MAGGOTS "FAMILY" OR WHATEVER.

CG: I'M KIDDING, AS MUCH AS I KNOW YOU ENJOYED BEING WITH YOUR FELLOW CLOWNS, I ALSO KNOW YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THIS BECOMING A WAR. SO, WHENEVER THE FUCK YOU DECIDE TO GRACE THE WORLD WITH YOUR CONSCIOUS PRESENCE, IT WOULD BE ABSOLUTELY DANDY IF YOU CAME HERE. OR AT LEAST MESSAGED ME. I AM TELLING HER RIGHT NOW WAR IS ***NOT FUCKING NECESSARY***, BUT SHE'LL PROBABLY STILL WANT TO TALK TO US IN THE FLESH SOON, OBVIOUSLY AFTER YOU’RE DONE WITH THAT INDUCTION THING OR WHATEVER.

terminallyCapricious [TC] is offline!

CG: HOW. THE FUCK. ARE YOU STILL SLEEPING. NO, SERIOUSLY, HOW THE FUCK. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS FOR SLEEPING THIS FUCKING DEEPLY BECAUSE FUCK KNOWS I NEED THAT INFORMATION. I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW IF IT WOULD ACTUALLY HELP ME ANY, BUT I'M WILLING TO TRY MOST ANYTHING AT THIS POINT. IF IT HAS TO DO WITH MIRACLES OR BLOOD SACRIFICE, I'LL HAVE TO DECLINE, UNFORTUNATELY. ON THE BASIS OF RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT I GUESS? IF THAT WAS OFFENSIVE TO YOU OR YOUR RELIGION, PLEASE IGNORE IT BECAUSE I DIDN’T INTEND IT THAT WAY.

CG: *SIGH*

CG: LOOK, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I'M RAMBLING ABOUT AT THIS POINT, BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS I NEED YOU AWAKE ASAP. SLEEPING IS ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT FOR FUCK'S SAKE HOW DO YOU EVEN SLEEP IN THIS LATE. I KNOW I CAN'T SLEEP IN THIS FUCKING LATE USUALLY, LUCKY BASTARD. I MEAN, IT'S PROBABLY A GOOD THING FOR YOU, AT LEAST YOU GET WELL-RESTED AND ALL THAT SHIT. I’M NOT TRYING TO SAY YOU SHOULD STOP SLEEPING WELL OR ANYTHING, THAT WOULD BE STUPID AND POINTLESS. AND EITHER WAY, I’M NOT SUCH A FLAGRANT WALKING PHALLUS THAT I WOULD WISH BAD SLEEP ON ANY TROLL, BUT RIGHT NOW IT'S SEVERELY INCONVENIENT.

CG: JUST, WHEN YOU WAKE UP LET ME KNOW, ALRIGHT?

terminallyCapricious [TC] is online!

TC: I Be aLl uP NoW :o)

CG: HOLY SHIT THE CLOWN LIVES.

TC: aHaHaHa yEaH We cLoWnS Be aLl dAmN NeAr iMpOsSiBlE To KiLl

TC: BuT I AlL DoNe jUsT SaW At yOuR MeSsAgEs sO I FiGuReD I’D SeE WhAt kInD Of wIcKeD NoIsE YoU WeRe sPoUtInG At mE

CG: IT’S GOOD TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE AWAKE FINALLY. I’M GOING TO CATCH YOU UP ON WHAT’S GOING ON RIGHT NOW. ERIDAN IS BEING BASICALLY SILENT, WHICH COULD EITHER BE A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING, I’M NOT SURE YET. FEFERI, SOLLUX, AND I ARE ARGUING/DISCUSSING THE FACT THAT THEY DON’T TRUST THAT YOUR CLOWNS AREN’T GOING TO ATTACK. THEY ARE BOTH STUBBORN ASSHOLES WHO REFUSE TO SEE REASON SOMETIMES, I’M USED TO THIS SHIT, SO I HAVE IT HANDLED, BUT BY THE MOTHER GRUB’S HAIRY ABDOMEN THEY ARE FRUSTRATING THE *FUCK* OUT OF ME.

TC: It sOuNdS As lIKe yOu gOt a gRoUp cHaT GoInG On

TC: I CaN AlL Be jOiNiNg iF YoU Do tHiNk aS ThAt mIgHt hElP

CG: IT COULD, GRANTED IT COULD ALSO MAKE SHIT WORSE, BUT FUCK IT THE RISK IS WORTH IT SO HERE YOU GO.

terminallyCapricious [TC] responded to memo.

TC: hEy

CC: Gamzee?

TC: YeAh sIs wHo eLsE WoUlD YoU Be eXpEcTiNg aT :o?

CC: W)(ale you nebber glubbing answered me w)(en I sent you private messages on trollian so I don’t know, you s)(ell me! glub glub 38P

TA: what

TA: the fuck

CA: kar probably thought it wwas a good idea to have him join since this invvolvves those fuckin wweird purples

TA: then why the fuck wa2n’t he here earliier

CG: HE WAS PERFORMING THE RARE AND EXTRAORDINARY ACT OF SLEEPING, AND SLEEPING IN LATE AT THAT. I ONCE HEARD A RUMOR THAT SLEEPING WELL WAS A THING THAT NORMAL TROLLS DO EVERY DAY, BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST BOGUS GIBBERISH AND AN ELABORATE SHAM THAT EVERYONE LIED ABOUT TO LAUD OVER ME AND OTHER TROLLS WITH BAD SLEEPING SCHEDULES. BUT HERE IT IS, PROOF THAT KARKAT VANTAS WAS ONCE AGAIN WRONG. THIS ONE GOES TO YOU UNIVERSE, ALWAYS MANAGING TO PROVE TO EVERY LIVING SENTIENT LIFEFORM THAT I AM WRONG! KUDOS TO YOU, I GIVE YOU MY MOST CORDIAL CONGRATULATIONS!

TA: you’re 2uch a deliicate flower lol

CG: YES, THANK YOU FOR THAT OH-SO APPRECIATED FLATTERY, I DON’T THINK I COULD HAVE LIVED ANOTHER MOMENT OR TAKEN ANOTHER BREATH BEFORE YOU DECIDED TO GRANT ME THE PRIVILEGE OF SEEING THAT SOMEONE APPROVED OF ME AND MY VARIOUS RAVINGS. THANKS SOLLUX, I NEEDED THAT TONIGHT IN ORDER TO KEEP MY TREMENDOUSLY FRAGILE SELF-ESTEEM FROM JETTISONING ITSELF INTO SPACE IN ORDER TO ESCAPE ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT MY APPARENTLY BRITTLE EXISTENCE OBVIOUSLY CAN’T HANDLE.

TA: oh okay iinterpert iit whatever way you want then ii gue22

CC: Buoys, if you could kelp your spades to yours)(ellf for once, t)(at would be refres)(ing conc)(cidering t)(at YOU TWO N-EV-ER DO ANYFIN ABOAT IT.

CA: basically fefs saying just fuckin kiss and get it over with alraydy and i glubbin agree

TC: i hAd tHoUgHt aS ThIs wAs tO Be aBoUt mY FaMiLy, MoThEr fUcKeRs :o|

CG: IT IS ABOUT THAT, DON’T DOUBT THAT, IT’S JUST THAT THESE BULGE SHITTERS CAN’T HOLD AN INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION FOR A SPAN LONGER THEN THREE SECONDS. NOT TO EVEN TOUCH THE FACT THAT APPARENTLY EVERYONE INTERPRETS STAYING ON TOPIC AS “AVOID TALKING ABOUT ANYTHING EVEN RELATED TO THE ISSUE AT PRONG”. MAYBE THAT’S WHY I’M A MUTANT, I DON’T HAVE THE MALFUNCTIONING GENE THAT MAKES ME INTERPRET THINGS AS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT IS SAID. SO WHO’S THE FUCKING DEFECTIVE ONE NOW, SHITHOLES?

TA: you fuckiing went off topiic fiir2t kk and no one 2aiid anything about you beiing defectiive

TA: that’2 all on you bro

CG: IS THAT SO? WAS IT TRULY I WHO CAUSED THE TOPIC TO TRAIL OFF? OH FUCK, WHAT A GODDAMN HYPOCRITE I MUST SOUND LIKE. IF I KEEP THINGS LIKE THIS UP, I MIGHT SEEM LIKE AN ACTUAL TROLL, I NEED TO BE CAREFUL. I MEAN, I DON’T WANT TO SEEM LIKE A COMPLETELY FALLIBLE LIVING BEING, AFTER ALL. THINGS HAVEN’T CHANGED SINCE I LAST ATTEMPTED TO PRESENT MYSELF IN SOCIETY, RIGHT? TROLLS ARE EXPECTED AT SOME LEVEL TO BE HYPOCRITICAL ASSHOLES AND NOT PERFECT LITTLE DOLLS? THAT’S A THING, RIGHT? I COULD BE WRONG, SO I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR EXPERT KNOWLEDGE SOLLUX.

TA: oh my god

CG: BUT WAIT! WHAT’S THIS!?! HOLY SHIT, I MUST BE HALF FUCKING BLIND OR SOMETHING BECAUSE I *SWEAR* I SEE YOUR YELLOW COLOR ASKING A DUMBASS QUESTION IN YOUR RETARDED QUIRK. THE QUESTION IS ABOUT GAMZEE AND IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ON TOPIC AND FUCKING STUPID AS HELL TO BOOT. IS THIS MY MUTATION ACTING OUT AGAIN? AM I HALLUCINATING THIS SOLLUX? ARE YOU, THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF BEING A FULLY FUNCTIONING TROLL WITH ABSOLUTELY NO MENTAL OR PHYSICAL PROBLEMS, BEING A HYPOCRITE!?!?!?!? O:B

TA: at lea2t ii u2e my color a22hole

CA: am i seariously gonna havve to step in come on

CG: NO!!!!

CG: FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, NO. NO ONE NEEDS TO FUCKING STEP IN, GOD. SOLLUX AND I ARE COMPLETELY COMPETENT ADULTS WHO CAN ARGUE ABOUT THINGS WITHOUT A MEDIATOR, THANK YOU VERY FUCKING MUCH. THIS CONVERSATION IS COMPLETELY OFF THE POINT BY NOW AND *SOME* OF US JUST NEED TO FUCKING FOCUS ON IMPORTANT SHIT INSTEAD OF BEING SHITTY AND PETTY ASSHOLES.

TA: mature of you two admiit iit kk ii applaud you

TA: *clap clap*

CC: T)(AT’S IT!! S)(UT IT OR BUCK-------ET!

TC: WhEn yOu’rE AlL To gEtTiNg tIrEd oF WaIlInG, It’s aLl tImE To jUsT Be gEtTiNg tO PaIlInG

TA: OH MY GOD

CG: FUCK RIGHT OFF, THE BOTH OF YOU!

CA: they’re right though

CG: I CORDIALLY INVITE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU FUCKERS TO ENJOY A GENUINE, PLATONIC, FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU ALL, STRAIGHT TO WHATEVER HELL MIGHT EXIST, MAY YOU ALL DROWN IN MY BOILING RAGE. ALL THE COLLECTIVE SUNS IN ALL THE COLLECTIVE UNIVERSES COULD NEVER DARE TO HOPE TO BECOME AS BURNING HOT AS THE BOILING FIRES OF MY PUREST RAGE, I HOPE YOU ALL THOROUGHLY ENJOY THE ETERNAL TORMENT. YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES AND YOU HAVE NO GODDAMN HOPE OF EVER ESCAPING THE HELL-SCAPE I ENVISION FOR YOU ALL. NOW GO DROWN IN THE VACUUM OF SPACE.

TC: hAhA GoDdAmN ThAt’s nEaR MoThErFuCkInG ReLiGiOuS ShIt yOu’rE SpEaKiNg kArKaT

CG: I

CG: YOU KNOW WHAT? I FUCKING GIVE UP. THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN’T SOMEHOW MAKE RELIGIOUS, FUCKING HELL.

TC: hOnK HoNk :o)

CG: YOU GIVE ME MIGRAINES.

CG: WHATEVER, LET’S ACTUALLY MOVE THE FUCK ON THEN. WHERE THE FUCK WERE WE BEFORE I INVITED THIS TERRIBLE SHIT CLOWN?

CA: shoutin at sollux aboat wwhy he should trust you or somefin like that

CG: OH YEAH. THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME, ERIDAN. SO BACK TO THAT TOPIC, I CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I LEFT OFF, SO I’LL JUST SAY THIS. I EXPECT ALL OF YOU, INCLUDING THE OTHER GENERALS WHO AREN’T HERE RIGHT NOW, TO PUT YOUR CONFIDENCE IN ME AND MY EVALUATIONS. YOU’VE TRUSTED ME FOR *SWEEPS* ON COUNTLESS OTHER THINGS, SO ALL I ASK IS FOR THAT SAME FUCKING TRUST RIGHT NOW. AS THE DAMN LEADER OF THE IMPERIAL ARMY AND THE GENERAL OF THE THRESHECUTIONERS, MY EVALUATION OF THIS SITUATION IS THAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN RESOLVED AND THAT WE ARE NOT UNDER ANY KIND OF THREAT.

CC: Alrig)(t, fin. You’ve been a reliabubble general for a long tide, you’ve steered t)(e Impearlial Army t)(roug)( roug)( waters before. No matter w)(at stormy weat)(er )(as come our wave, you’ve been a consistently safe )(arbor. I cod go on wit)( t)(e analogies, but I’ll spare you. You’re rig)(t, t)(is is no different t)(an any otter decision we’ve trusted wit)( you before. T)(at being said, t)(ere are still t)(ings we need to talk aboat. Like w)(at )(appens to t)(ose w)(o did t)(e attack?

TC: It mIgHt aLl tAkE A WhIlE To bE FiNdiNg oUt wHo dId aT ThAt sHiT BuT OnCe i fInD OuT WhO DoNe iT, tHeY WiLl bE AlL DeAlT WiTh iN WhAt wAyS ScRiPtUrE DeMaNdS

CC: Clamzee, I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t t)(ink t)(at I can allow you to deal wit)( t)(e punfis)(ment of t)(ese trolls.

TC: i aIn’t aBoUt aS To lEt yOu hAvE ThEm bY AnY MeAsUrE, i wIlL NoT MoThEr fUcKiNg bE To bUdGe oN OvEr tHaT SiStEr

TC: I WiLl mAkE SuRe aS My FaMiLy bE DeAlT WiTh tHe wAy fAiTh sAyS ThEy sHoUlD Be dEaLt wItH AnD YoU AiN’T GoT No sAy nOr cHoIcE In tHe mAtTeR

TC: yOu aIn’t aBouT tO Be cOmInG At aNy mOtHeR FuCkInG WhErE EvEn nEaR To gEtTiNg aT ThEm aS I WoUlD PrOtEcT WiTh mY LiFe aNd sOuL

CG: IS IT REALLY SUCH AN ISSUE HOW EXACTLY THEY GET DEALT WITH? AS LONG AS THERE ARE NO MORE ASSAULTS, THAT’S ALL THAT REALLY FUCKING MATTERS.

CC: I don’t know… 38/

TC: mOtHeRfUcKeR I’Ve dOnE DiD AlL As i pRoMiSeD, i hElPeD AnD HeLpEd aNd mOtHeR FuCkInG HeLpEd, AcQuIeScEd tO YoU AnD HeLd mY MoThErFuCkInG WoRd tRuE To mY SoUl

TC: MaDe wHaT SpEeCh aT ThE FaItHfUl aNd pRaIsE As tHeY LiStEnEd, So mY FaMiLy aIn’t gOnNa aTtAcK LiKe tHaT EvEr aGaIn

TC: I AlL DoNe aT My mOtHeRfUcKiNg pArT, dOnE AnD GoNe aNd dEaD, cAn eVeN StIcK YoUr dAmN ImPeRiAl fOrK In iT, tHaT Be hOw dOnE My pArT Is bEiNg

TC: YoU DoNe gOt aLl aS YoU AsKeD FoR, mY HeLp aNd tHe kNoWlEdGe aS AiN’T No oNe oN My sIdE Be aBoUt tO StArT A WaR, sO NoW I ExPeCt yOu tO HoLd tO YoUrS

TC: i hAvE MeT YoUr bArGaIn fUlL AnD EnTiRe, So nOw yOu gOt tO GiVe mE WhAt i mOtHeRfUcKiNg wElL PaId mY DuEs fOr bY AcQuIeScInG, gIvE Me tHaT SaMe kNoWlEdGe wHaT YoUr sIdE AiN’T To bE StArTiNg nO WaR

CC: And w)(at if I don’t do t)(at Gamzee? Would t)(e clown fis)( start attacking again?

Your pan flashes with sudden anger, your ‘voodoos rising up all aggressive in response, but before you can reply you notice your private message with Karkat light up.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] started trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

CG: REMEMBER THE BAIT ON THE FISHING LINE OR WHATEVER WEIRD METAPHOR YOU USED BEFORE? WELL DON’T FUCKING BITE INTO WHAT SHE SAID, OKAY.

TC: ThAt fIsHiNg lUrE DiD AlL Be aT FlAsHiNg bRiGhT AnD ShInY ThErE FoR A MoThEr fUcKiNg mOmEnT AnD It nEaR To sNaGgEd mE

TC: tHaNkS FoR ThE ReMiNdEr aS ThEsE HeRe fIsH ArE BeInG NoThInG BuT FaLsE AsS LiGhTs gIlDeD WiTh tHeIr oWn dAmNeD PrIdE :o)

CG: YEAH, SURE, WHATEVER THAT FUCKING MEANS. I’M SURE IT’S HORRIFYING ON SOME ABYSMAL LEVEL THAT I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT. THANKS FOR LISTENING.

TC: nOt a pRoBlEm

You go back to the memo, feeling like all your rage just done got alleviated from you in an instant, ‘voodoos humming a quiet melodious song that makes you smile softly. You’re glad as Karkat be on your side, helping you to try to make Feferi realize that she ain’t getting near your family, and being so kind as to remind you that fish trolls be liking to provoke others into attacking them first, so they got a reason to make themselves seem the victim or hero or some shit.

CA: fef clam dowwn a little alright

CA: wwe don’t wwant a fuckin wwar so don’t antagonize him like that

CC: Glub glub 38P

CA: glub to you too princess

CC: Fin, fin. I’ll s)(ellf t)(at conc)(cern. You’re rig)(t Clamzee, you did w)(at I asked. I’m not going to attack your glubbing retarded family or waterebber.

TC: gOoD To hEaR

TA: that’2 iit?

CC: W)(ale, I guess so. T)(oug)( I still don’t know if I can trust Gamzee, but as long as no moray attacks )(appen everyt)(ing will be peaceful.

TC: AnD ThAt’s bEiNg tO MeAn wE BoTh bE In tHe sAmE BoAt oF UnDeRsTaNdInG

TC: aIn’t sUrE HoW MuCh i tRuLy tRuSt yOuR GoLd-pLaTeD ScAlEs fIsH PrInCeSs bUt lOnG As mY FaMiLy sTaYs uNbOtHeReD By yOuR ImPeRiAl aRmY I AiN’T GoT No iSsUeS NoR Do i wIsH To sTaRt aNy fOr aLl yOu mIgHt iRrItAtE ThE MoThEr fUcK OuT Of mE At tImEs

CC: Good to )(ear, I guess.

TA: thii2 ii2 the weiirde2t peace talk we’ve ever had

CG: YOU MIGHT BE RIGHT ABOUT THAT, BUT IT SURE THE FUCK ISN’T THE WORST WE’VE HAD. NO, THE WORST ONES ARE WHERE EVERYONE IS SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER IN PERSON, ARGUING ABOUT SHIT THAT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER AND THROWING DEATH THREATS AROUND LIKE IT’S CURRENCY. SO, I’D MUCH RATHER DEAL WITH YOU FEW SHITHOLES BEING SHAMELESS GODDAMN FLIRTS. PLUS, IT SEEMS LIKE WE’RE DONE HERE NOW. SOMEONE PLEASE FUCKING TELL ME WE’RE DONE HERE NOW.

CC: Water boat t)(e training you )(ad planned?

CG: IT’S PRETTY FUCKING POINTLESS AT THIS STAGE.

CC: If t)(at’s so, I’m s)(ore you won’t mind telling all t)(e otters aboat t)(at since t)(ey are at t)(e training compound alraydy.

CG: I SWEAR TO FUCK.

CC: )(e)(e)(e glub glub! Sorry Crabcatc)(! )(AV------E FUN!! 38D

cuttlefishCuller [CC] stopped responding to memo!

You can’t help but laugh some at that, for all you feel bad for Karkat having gotten dumped with that shit, laughter still finds its way to you and you ain’t gonna hold in that shit in any situation.

After laughing at his plight a little, you smile fondly and think on how now you got your family’s safety fully assured, all thanks to Karkat helping you out. You trusted him to do at so, but you didn’t be expecting at it so soon, plus there still be a part of you that just feels this sense of relief as you didn’t misplace your trust. It’s, it’s just like, you think the word you be struggling to explain is reassurance. You feel reassured, seeing such quick proof that Karkat truly is trustworthy. You close your gander bulbs, a faint purr in your throat as you silently send praise and thanks to the Messiahs.

You go to invite Karkat to the carnival, no motherfucking responsibilities as either of you have need of to do for this one motherfucking night, and you want to be ensuring he gets to fully enjoy the carnival and chill out some for once.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]

TC: hEy yOu wAnTiNg tO EnJoY ThE ChUrCh iN FuLl tOnIgHt

CG: FUCK MY LIFE, I HAD HOPED YOU DROPPED IT, BUT NO, YOU ARE CONTINUING TO PROVE HOW FUCKING INSISTENT YOU ARE THAT I’M GOING TO SOMEHOW ENJOY BEING SURROUNDED BY CRAZY CLOWNS.

TC: CoMe nOw mY KiN, yOu aLl aDmItTeD To hAvInG FuN LaSt NiGhT

TC: aNd tHaT WaS OnLy bEiNg tHe lAsT MoThErFuCkInG AcT In oF ThAt nIgHt

TC: ToNiGhT, wE GoT HoUrS To bE At eNjOyInG ThE CaRnIvAl :oD

CG: *FINE* BUT ONLY TO PROVE THAT ME ENJOYING THAT SHOW LAST NIGHT WAS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME FLUKE. IT SHOULD ONLY TAKE A COUPLE OF MINUTES FOR YOU TO GET TO THIS PLANET, RIGHT?

TC: As fAr aS I Be rEcAlLiNg, ThAt iS AlL CoRrEcT

TC: aNd i dO AlL HoPe aT ThAt yOu rEaLiZe yOu sAyInG It wAs a fLuKe oNlY MaKeS Me sEe iT As a fRiEnDlY ChAlLeNgE To bE GeTtInG YoU To aLl aDmIt tHe oPpOsItE

TC: eItHeR ThAt oR I SeE It aS MeSsIaHs gIvEn fOrTuNe tHaT I AlL GoT To Be WiTnEsSiNg aT An oCcUrAnCe sO RaRe ;o)

CG: PLEASE TELL ME YOU’RE AT LEAST ON YOUR WAY AND NOT JUST WASTING YOUR TIME TYPING THIS INSTEAD OF GETTING A MOVE ON.

TC: Uh

TC: SuRe kIn, If tHaT’S WhAt yOu bE WaNtInG To hEaR

You do all start getting your move on now though, since Karkat all is expecting at you, and you quickly make your way to your ship, getting inside and once again setting the destination. The ship takes off and you check to see what Karkat all said while you were hurrying here.

CG: FOR THE LOVE OF

CG: I DON’T EVEN KNOW, I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOLY FUCKING SHIT. WHY, JUST FUCKING WHY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT YOU’VE BEEN NIGH CONSTANTLY TRYING TO CONVINCE ME ABOUT FOR LIKE, THE LAST FEW NIGHTS, SO I KIND OF WAS HALF EXPECTING YOU TO SHOW UP THE INSTANT I AGREED TO IT. I MEAN, NOT REALLY. KIND OF LIKE, IN A WAY WHERE I WAS JOKING ABOUT IT TO MYSELF? BUT NO, THE MOMENT I START TO EXPECT THINGS, THE UNIVERSE GOES GODDAMN HAYWIRE. WHATEVER IT IS I EXPECT, LIKE YOU NOT SLACKING OFF ABOUT AT LEAST THIS *ONE THING*, THE UNIVERSE ALWAYS LOVES LAUGHING IN MY FUCKING FACE AND STABBING ME IN THE STOMACH JUST TO PROVE THAT I SHOULD NEVER EXPECT ANYTHING EXCEPT FOR LIKE, TERRIBLE SHIT.

CG: IT HAPPILY PROVIDES ME WITH TERRIBLE SHIT. BUT THE FUCKING MOMENT I START TO EXPECT SOMETHING THAT IS EVEN A SHADE NEAR NEUTRAL, LET ALONE FUCKING *PLEASANT*, IT JUST FUCKING REBUFFS IT WITH COLD HARD FACTS SLAPPED IN MY FACE. SERIOUSLY, I SHOULD PROBABLY JUST STOP EXPECTING THINGS ALL TOGETHER AND MAYBE MY LIFE WOULD BE MARGINALLY BETTER! BUT, OH WAIT, THAT’S AN EXPECTATION AND LIKE FUCK THE UNIVERSE WOULDN’T TRY TO PROVE ME WRONG ON EVEN THAT. SO, I GUESS WHAT I’M SAYING IS I SHOULD STOP FUCKING TRYING ALTOGETHER. WHICH MIGHT EVEN BE A PERFECTLY VALID GODDAMN POINT, GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

CG: THE CIRCUMSTANCES BEING THE UNIVERSE TRYING TO MAKE ME ITS ETERNAL BITCH, JUST TO BE CLEAR THAT THAT’S WHAT I MEAN. I MEAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE UNIVERSE WOULD DO IF I LITERALLY STOPPED TRYING? IF I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING OR EXPECT ANYTHING AND JUST FUCKING. SLEPT 24/7 OR SOMETHING, I DON’T KNOW. WHAT THE FUCK COULD IT DO THEN? MAKE ME NOT BE ABLE TO SLEEP? OH WAIT! IT ALREADY DOES THAT! SO, FUCK YOU UNIVERSE, YOU DON’T HAVE MOTHERFUCKING SHIT ON ME. YOU CAN’T KICK ME IN THE SHAME GLOBES OVER *THAT* ANY MORE THEN YOU ALREADY DO, SO TAKE THAT!

CG: HEY YOU KNOW I WAS FUCKING AROUND, RIGHT?

CG: SERIOUSLY I SAY SHIT LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, ITS JUST MEANINGLESS DRIVEL THAT NO ONE SHOULD TAKE SERIOUSLY. OR PROBABLY EVEN READ, TO BE HONEST. FUCK, I USED TO DO THIS A LOT WHEN I WAS YOUNG. IT’S AN OLD HABIT, JUST IGNORE IT, IT’S REALLY FUCKING STUPID.

CG: SHIT, COME ON, I DIDN’T MEAN ANY OF THAT.

TC: sOrRy wAs jUsT GeTtInG My mOvE On tO Be mEeTiNg aT YoU As sOoN As i cAn

CG: OH. OKAY.

CG: UH. YOU. DIDN’T READ ALL OF THAT, DID YOU?

TC: WeLl iN HoNeSt i dId rEaD It

CG: FUCK.

CG: SORRY, IT’S EMBARRASSING AS FUCK, BUT SERIOUSLY THAT WAS ALL POINTLESS NONSENSE. SO YOU SHOULD FORGET IT. MAYBE FORGET THIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION EVER HAPPENED AT ALL ACTUALLY. HELL.

You ain’t actually sure how you want for responding right now. Part of you says you should drop it since he asked of you to, and since you still be a bit uncertain on if your feelings actually be to true, but all the part of you as is nagging and squirming all discomfort says otherwise. What’s this, three motherfucking times? At least three times upon which he spoke at himself, all his blades and harshness as you often saw him wield with fierceness and pride, turned inward as they should never be. Enough motherfucking trolls get to ripping and tearing each other down, and him a mutant you can only imagine what he’s had spewed all at him. He don’t be needing himself to be yet another motherfuckin opponent. You bite the inside of your cheek, caught in not knowing what all to say. After a moment, you attempt at to slightly shift the conversation.

TC: I ShOuLd bE ThErE AlL SoOn iF ThAt hElPs aT AlL

CG: YEAH, SURE, WHY NOT.

CG: FUCK. I’M SORRY ABOUT THAT.

TC: aIn’t nOtHiNg aS YoU NeEd tO ApOlOgIzE FoR KiN

Karkat doesn’t reply with quite the efficacy as you’ve gotten used to, so you try to tease him a bit, bring a little bit of that inward aggression out on you.

TC: uNlEsS ThAt wAs a pReEmPtIvE FoR YoU To bE AdMiTtInG ThAt tHe cArNiVaL Is a fUn mOtHeR FuCkInG TiMe ;oP

CG: OH, FUCK YOU, THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE.

CG: THE SECOND I DIVERT MY ATTENTION FROM YOU, YOU GET SASSY. WHAT DID I EVER DO TO DESERVE THIS? YOU’LL HAVE TO MAKE OUT THOSE WORDS FROM MY COLD DEAD LIPS AT THIS RATE, ASSHOLE.

TC: HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

TC: ThAt bE SoMe nAsTy fUcKiNg iMaGeRy mY KiN AhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAhAh

CG: OOOOOOOH MY GOD. FUCK NO, OKAY NO. THAT, FUCK, THAT WAS A BAD CHOICE OF WORDS ON MY BEHALF.

TC: I’Ll bE AlL To hAvInG To dEcLiNe tHoUgH SeEiNg aS I AiN’T InTo cOrPsEs ;oP

CG: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

CG: YOU ARE GROSS AND I HATE YOU.

TC: HoNkHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHoNk

CG: UGH. YOU ARE ENJOYING THIS TOO MUCH.

TC: AnD YoU ClAiM OnLy wE ClOwNs gOt a tWiStEd sEnSe oF HuMoR

CG: I DIDN’T CLAIM THAT. I JUST SAID THAT IT SEEMS LIKE THAT’S THE TYPE OF HUMOR CLOWNS *PREFER* TO USE. WHICH I WAS CORRECT ABOUT IF THE ‘JOKE SWAPPING’, OR WHATEVER YOU ALL DID BEFORE WE GOT BLINDSIDED BY SOME RANDOM JACKASSES, IS ANY HINT. BUT THAT’S HARDLY THE FUCKING POINT RIGHT NOW. THE POINT IS THAT YOU ARE A BILE-INFESTED SHELL OF A TROLL AND I SERIOUSLY DON’T KNOW WHY THE FUCK I DEAL WITH YOU OR YOUR INADVERTENT AND INSINCERE FLIRTATIONS.

TC: uH

TC: hOw wAs i bEiNg tO FlIrTiNg :o?

CG: YOU INSINUATED SOMETHING ABOUT KISSING MY CORPSE? AT LEAST I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S WHAT YOU MEANT. WHICH ONE, IS GROSS AND DISTURBING, FUCK YOU FOREVER FOR THAT MENTAL IMAGE. TWO, I KNOW YOU WERE JUST BEING A FUCKING CLOWN AND MAKING A REVOLTING JOKE, SO I’M ASSUMING IT WAS MEANINGLESS OUTSIDE OF A CHEAP LAUGH. THREE, IT IS STILL KIND OF FLIRTING TO MOST TROLLS I KNOW, EVEN IF IT’S THE NAUSEATINGLY ATROCIOUS KIND. GRANTED, I KIND OF FUCKED UP MY WORDING BUT I DIDN’T FUCKING MEAN IT THAT WAY, BULGE SACK.

TC: Oh uH, sOrRy, I DiDn’t mEaN It lIkE ThAt eItHeR My kIn

TC: I MeAn i aIn’t eVeN SuRe wHaT MoThErFuCkInG QuAdRaNt tHaT CoUnTs aS FlIrTiNg fOr bUt i’m aLl fAiR CeRtAiN I DiDn’t mEaN It lIkE ThAt

CG: YEAH WELL. LIKE MOST OF THE UNINTENTIONAL FLIRTING YOU DO, IT’S NOT EXACTLY CLEAR ON WHICH QUADRANT IT’S AIMED AT. REGARDLESS OF THE GROSS CORPSE PART, INSINUATING KISSING IS USUALLY A FLUSH OR PITCH THING? SERIOUSLY, HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THESE THINGS.

TC: I MeAn i kNoW AlL WhAt kIsSiNg aNd sHiT Is pReTtY CoNcUpIsCeNt, AnD WhEn yOu aLl pOiNt iT OuT In sUcH A WaY I Do bE SeEiNg aS HoW WhAt i dOnE SaId cAn bE SeEn aS SuCh

CG: SO YOU HONESTLY DIDN’T EVEN REALIZE IT COULD *SOUND* LIKE FLIRTING?

TC: WhY YoU Be aLl aSkInG On aBoUt iT :o?

CG: I’M SOMEWHAT GENUINELY CURIOUS ABOUT HOW AWARE OF YOUR OWN QUADRANT BLUNDERS YOU ARE. SINCE IT SEEMS LIKE I HAVE DEALT WITH THE BRUNT OF THEM THESE LAST FEW NIGHTS.

TC: wElL In hOnEsT, oUtSiDe oF ThE MoThErFuCkInG ObViOuS, i aIn’t gOt a cLuE At wHaT AlL CoUnTs aS FlIrTiNg tO OtHeR TrOlLs

TC: So i dOn’t bE KnOwInG ItS EvEn a tHiNg aS CoUnTs aS FlIrTiNg iN ThE FiRsT PlAcE MoRe oFtEn tHaN NoT

TC: uH, i aLl bE SoRrY FoR ThAt kIn

CG: IT’S FINE, IT DOESN’T BOTHER ME.

TC: WaS My rEpLy aT LeAsT To hElPfUl wItH CuRiNg wHaT CuRiOsItY YoU HaD

CG: WELL, IT ANSWERS A LOT OF QUESTIONS BUT ALSO OPENS UP A WHOLE OTHER CAN OF DIRT NOODLES. THIS HOOFBEASTMANURE JUST NEVER FUCKING ENDS, IT SEEMS.

TC: :oD

TC: hOnK HoNk pRaIsE MeSsIaHs, EvErYtHiNg iS CyClIcAl; TrUlY WiLl nOtHiNg eNd eVeR

TC: tHeM By hOnKs, FoRmEd lIfE ThRoUgHoUt aLl; DeSiGnEd wAs eXiStEnCe, NoW OnLy rEmAiNs dEmOlItIoN

TC: cReAtIoN BeGeTs tErMiNaTiOn, TeRmInAtIoN BeGeTs cReAtIoN

TC: dEmOlItIoN ReMaInS OnLy nOw, ExIsTeNcE WaS DeSiGnEd; AlL ThRoUgHoUt lIfE FoRmEd, HoNkS By tHeM

TC: eVeR EnD NoThInG WiLl tRuLy; CyClIcAl iS EvErYtHiNg, MeSsIaHs pRaIsE HoNk hOnK

TC: Do:

You all notice your ship stops moving and grin, walking out before going to tell at Karkat what you be here.

CG: …

CG: YOU KNOW THERE ARE TIMES WHERE I NEARLY BRIEFLY FORGET WHAT A ZEALOUS FUCKING RELIGIOUS PSYCHO YOU ARE. THEN YOU DO THIS TYPE OF SHIT AND I LEGITIMATELY AND OPENLY WONDER WHAT THE HELL MY LIFE HAS BECOME WITH NUMB DISBELIEF.

CG: I WOULD ASK WHAT THE UTTER LIVING ***FUCK*** THAT WAS, BUT THAT MIGHT IMPLY I CARED, SO I’M JUST GOING TO MARK IT ON THE TALLY BOARD AS “MORE WEIRD RELIGIOUS SHIT”. HELL, LET’S PUT A TALLY UNDER “POSSIBLY SOME MORE IMPOSSIBLE TO INTERPRET SLAM POETRY ON SOME NIGH INCOMPREHENSIBLE LEVEL” FOR GOOD GODDAMN MEASURE, SHALL WE?

TC: hAhAhAhAhA I’M HeRe nOw :o)

CG: GOOD, I’LL BE OUT SOON.

carcinoGeneticist [CG] ceased trolling terminallyCapricious [TC]

You patient wait for Karkat, not all having to wait all that long before he exits his battleship. You wave at him as he walks up to you. He stops in front of you and you all ask at him, “Ready?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Karkat mutters with a roll of his gander bulbs.

You chuckle lightly and turn back to your ship as you say, “Let’s all be going then.”

Karkat follows you into your ship where you quick set your ship to go back to church. “So what exactly even is your itinerary for tonight,” Karkat asks. “Does it at all involve consuming frightening levels of fizzy soda?”

You laugh and turn to reply at him, “Wicked elixir is the motherfucking bitch’s tits and I ain’t got the know on of what all you will do, but I may have some now that you all make mention on of it. Though the thing is being that there ain’t no itinerary for this night. How we to be relaxing at all if we be set at on some strict schedule? Nah my kin, just gotta let them good times all come at you on their own pacing.”

Karkat sighs and waves his prongs slightly in mock of joy, “Yay for spontaneous decisions.”

Karkat rubs at one of his gander bulbs with the heel of his prong and mutters, “Or something, I don’t even know.”

You blink and notice that he all seems to have dark marks under his gander bulbs what give indication of sleeplessness. You frown slightly to yourself at that, wondering if the shit he spoke on about not sleeping had more truth in it then what he wants you to know of. Despite all the noises in your pan about it, you let it drop and stay silent on your way to the church. You know when trolls want to keep secrets and you ain’t got no right to ask him for any motherfucking answers.

Chapter Text

When you and Karkat arrive at church, after you all walk out of your ship and pass by the entrance with a quick greeting at those as are stationed there, you once again see many purples bustling about and all going about their own various doings. You wonder at what all you should be at doing first, so you ask at Karkat, “You got any idea what you would be wanting for to do in the carnival?”

Karkat looks at you and shrugs, saying, “Staying the hell away from the blood painters is the first thing that I can think of. After that, I have little to no idea what there is even to expect, so I quite literally have no goddamn clue.”

“Oh,” you exclaim, smiling wide and happy to speak about the carnival, “Well, there be plays as to watch, magic tricks and music to be all enjoying, games to be at playing, food what to dine on. Then them acts and dances and such put on by thespians and artistics both, as well as the performances with trapezes and fire rings and all that shit, which is all including the finale. It’s a motherfucking bitchin riot to be enjoying at the carnival.”

Karkat waves his prong like he doesn’t got no care on as he says, “Just show me around to whatever you think I’d like.”

“Motherfucking sweet,” you say all happily.

Just then, as if guided by Messiahs, your sniffnodes all get to smelling tasty food being all made. Your stomach all rumbles and you grin at Karkat as you ask at him, “You got hunger kin? I do be admitting I have some wicked ass cravings for some nourishment right now.”

“Yeah, I heard your stomach a second ago,” Karkat says, eyeing you as if to judge. “I guess food sounds as good a place to start as any in this circus of freaks.”

You snort and say, “Then let’s be going.”

You all walk over to the closest food stand and stand in line all expectant.

“So just to be sure,” Karkat asks while you be waiting, sounding like he’s joking a little, “This isn’t made from killed trolls or whatever, right? Hungry or not, I don’t know if I’m in for cannibalism.”

You huff a soft bit of laughter and say, “Nah, it ain’t made from no trolls. Any what ways, ain’t eating grubs and shit as is usual for most being some form of cannibalism all technical like, seeing as all trolls be grubs at the start?”

Karkat grimaces before pointing at you and hissing, “Okay, no, it’s not troll grubs so that’s not cannibalism. If it doesn’t come from our species, it doesn’t fucking count.”

You snicker and Karkat growls low, saying all defensive, “Don’t you ruin grubloaf for me, you ass. It’s my favorite fucking food and my now deceased lusus used to make it for me all the time.”

Your laughter chokes off and you grimace as you mutter, “sorry,” just as the line moves and it becomes your turn to order. You get off the subject of dead lusii quickly and ask at Karkat, “What you want to eat at?”

Karkat looks at the menu and mutters, “I’ve never even heard of most of this stuff, what the hell?”

You laugh and say, “It’s all tasty kin, just try at something.”

Then you turn to the cook and say, “I’d like some twisted salt-bread as well as a sugar cloud and whatever my kin here decides on at.”

Karkat hesitates before saying, “Uh, I guess a couple of those breaded-meat-on-a-stick things?”

The cook smiles and says, “I’ll get that for you right away!”

They move quick, handing you a twisted salt-bread all wrapped up so as to hold easier, and giving Karkat two breaded-meat-on-a-stick, before they grab the thing what is used to put the sugar clouds on. You perk up and grin, walking over to watch closely as they use the sugar cloud making thing. You love watching this thing work, it’s a motherfucking miraculous thing to you, all seeing as the colored sugar gets spun on all fluffy and perfect.

They hand the sugar cloud to you when they are done, and you eagerly grab it, saying, “Thanks!”

You quickly be to move out of the way of their line though.

“Huh, this is pretty good,” you hear Karkat mutter, glancing over to see he’s all eating one of the breaded-meat-on-a-stick.

You bite into the sugar cloud as Karkat asks, “Why the fuck is it blue?”

You smile and say, “Well it ain’t blood, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

You pause before adding on, “Ain’t nothing else what comes out of trolls either.”

Karkat blanches slightly, all making a noise as if to simulate throwing up, “That is disgusting, why even put that thought in my think pan?”

You laugh and wave your sugar cloud at Karkat, asking, “Wanna try?”

“I still don’t know what the fuck it even is,” Karkat hisses.

“Sugar,” you reply easy.

Karkat gestures to it wildly and repeats louder than before, “So why in the fuck is it blue?”

You shrug and say, “Ain’t sure on what name it’s being called, but it’s some shit as dyes food different colors, but ain’t got much use beyond that.”

Karkat squints at you and scowls as he asks, “So you’re literally eating pure sugar right now?”

You take another bite of the sugar cloud and nod, silent offering it to him once again. Karkat sighs and pulls off some from where you ain’t bitten yet, muttering, “I swear to any and every existing hell, if this turns out to be blood you’re secretly feeding me, I will disembowel you. I know the most efficient way how to.”

You snort as Karkat eats what he tore off, being all awkward-like since he’s never had it before. You take a moment to unwrap your twisted salt-bread before making it so some of the sugar cloud is wrapped up with it, then you bite into it with a pleased hum.

“Why do you like this,” Karkat asks, and you look at him at the same time he seemingly looks up at you. He looks at you for a second before laughing and asking, “What the fuck man, why the hell are you eating it like that?”

You shrug, having to all finish chewing and swallowing before you say, “Tastes good. Salt and sweet, with some base as to properly chew, it’s motherfucking awesome.”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and says, “If you say so. Is junk food all this place has though?”

“On carnivals, yeah,” you say, biting into your snack.

Karkat eats more of his breaded-meat-on-a-stick before asking you, “What’s your favorite food? I’d bet it’s some horrendously sugar-filled fang-rotting carnival snack.”

You shrug again and answer all questioning, “Food as is cooked and edible?”

You laugh slightly and say, “Sorry to disappoint at you, but I ain’t actually got a favorite as I can think at on.”

“Who the fuck said I was disappointed,” Karkat asks. “It’s not like I’m devastated to find out you don’t have a favorite food. It’s really not a big deal.”

“If you do be saying so,” you say before eating more of your snack.

“So, you said this carnival shows off skills to the new faithful,” Karkat asks. You hum all affirmative and he goes on to ask, “How so though? It just looks like a bunch of clowns goofing off.”

You chuckle and say, “Might look as such, but where you think these motherfuckers done learnt at what they be doing tonight? All these acts, all the fun, much as it’s for celebration, all of it is also being a show of what a faithful can learn. Whether laughsassin or subjugglator, any skill as you like or want to learn can be all taught at you. Singing, dancing, painting, magic, juggling, acting, even the things such as educating and preaching. Does it in a fun way too.”

“Wait, so you can do some of this shit,” Karkat asks of you.

“Certain can,” you grin at him. “You think the juggling is a thing I can only do in a fight or some shit? Skills don’t all disappear just because the situation is being different.”

Karkat huffs and says, “I didn’t think that, that would be stupid to think. Is juggling all you can do though?”

“Nah,” you say. “Preaching be my main focus, but I can all do most the stuff as like what you saw in the finale last night, that trapeze shit and coordinated falls and what all. Be good at poetry, singing or acting I ain’t being much good at. Had educator Kosezi tell me once what I had good potential for being a good dancer or contortionist, though I never got no training on either of those. Can also ride a one-wheel device and I be learning as how to juggle while riding it.”

Karkat snorts and smirks at you, “So you’re a stereotypical clown, is what you’re saying.”

You chuckle and say, “Dunno, all depends on what be the definition of stereotypical in this scenario.”

“By the way though,” Karkat says, seeming to change the subject. You tilt your nugbone and wait for him to continue. “You mentioned last night that Adamel and Iunond knew the basics of laughsassin training? Is that a common thing?”

“Sure is kin,” you say. “Every clown gets taught the basics of both, mostly just to be seeing at which you be better at doing. What a motherfucker wants for is of import, but that don’t always be meaning it’s what all you got natural skill in. If that does go to making sense.”

“I guess it makes sense,” Karkat says. After a slight pause, he looks you over and asks, “So you were better at being a subjugglator then?”

“Not entirely,” you admit. “I had well enough skill in both that my family let me have my choosing. I had thought I wanted for to be a subjugglator when I was a pupa, so I done went and chose that. At the end of my training with subjugglator Uzdavi, my family, and in particular Pontifex Prakis, done all noticed my ability and knowledge all on of about scripture and said as I might should consider being a clerical. Which all did sound at as being like the most bitchtits thing to me, so I went and did at some training and such for that, before getting named as a minister and all being to preach the wicked word at my family. Was nice while it lasted. Ain’t proper preached in a long motherfucking while.”

Karkat frowns at you and asks, “Why did you stop if you liked it so much?”

You shrug, “Feferi made Empress and my family all wanted a Grand. Seeing as I had sign and blood of the previous, I got all rushed into my ancestor’s seat all metaphorical and near literal.”

“That’s hoofbeastmanure,” Karkat hisses all unhappy. “You shouldn’t have been forced into the title if you didn’t want it.”

You frown and say, “My wording might have all been at unclear, for I ain’t knowing on about being forced. Getting a new Grand was a thing as had been mentioned briefly many a time before. I decided on my own to offer when all they were in want after Feferi rose to power. My family did encourage it and were happy to have me, even young as I was, and gave me the title as I have now in quick motherfucking fashion. But, dumbass that I was being, I panicked and left to go out gathering pupa instead of staying where all I was meant to be.”

Karkat shakes his nugbone and starts saying, “Feferi must have asked you-”

“No,” you say firm, interrupting him. “She sent a missive to every motherfucking troll, all asking for those as would volunteer to be pilots, and I signed up for it on my own. She ain’t even had a clue as I signed up for it until I showed up and shit. Ran the motherfuck away from my duties as Grand and as minister both. Been all remiss in my responsibilities to the church and brethren in all ways as I could have been doing.”

“We’re about the same age, so wouldn’t you have been ten when Feferi became Empress,” Karkat asks, looking at you with confusion for some reason as you don’t know.

“Yeah, I was only ten at the time of being named Grand Pulpiteer,” you say. “But that ain’t no excuse. I was nine when I made minister, and do be noting as that usually clowns got to be ten before they get a title even such as that. I should have been motherfucking hive, kin. I should have stayed in church and all done what was expected of me from the start. This whole entire motherfucking mess as we be dealing with might have never gotten to be happening if I didn’t run away over some stupid as fuck blunder as I made.”

Karkat frowns and asks, “What the hell did you even do that could have been that fucking bad?”

You glance away and feel your face get all uncomfortable hot as you mutter, “Was a dumb motherfucking wiggler, was what I done did.”

That’s all as you intended to say, for the embarrassment still gets at you, but after a moment, in want to be straightforward with him, you all reluctant say, “After getting the title, I had to all stand up and speak at my family, much like yesternight. Except I was young and had no motherfucking clue what all to do or say. I was floundering and drowning amongst my own nervousness, and I all uncertain spoke at them only one thing.”

You take a breath and all quote yourself from back then, “You should all be like, listening to the Empress and all that shit.”

You pause again before muttering, “Made me cringe for I knew what it was near exactly something as my motherfucking lusus spoke at me when I was a grub. The anxieties and fear of failure was all that as I ran away from back then. Still surely have that shit, ain’t gonna lie, but I ain’t no longer having a place as to run to since this could be to bring about the destruction of my family if I do at motherfucking nothing.”

“Gamzee, you can’t blame yourself for this shit,” Karkat says. “You were young and scared, and you panicked. It happens to everyone. So what if you did something that might have been a little dumb? Everyone does dumb shit, it's basically the only way we learn anything for fuck’s sake. Plus, there’s no telling if you being at church would have changed anything. Hell, it might even be worse. We’re dealing with it now and that’s what’s important.”

You look at Karkat and say, “Truth, but I let my family down once, my kin. I won’t be forgetting that and will be all trying my best to never do at that again.”

Karkat be frowning and you smile slightly as you say, “Though Messiahs offer forgiveness with ease, it ain’t as easy to forgive at on the personal level. I just all do still have regrets all on of what happened, be pardoning at my remorse, I don’t all mean to be burdening you with it.”

Karkat murmurs softly, “It’s not a problem.”

You hum faintly, looking away for a moment before all asking, “See anything as you would want for to be doing?”

You be to finish your snack quickly as Karkat glances around. After a moment, he all points to a game stand, saying, “What about that, it looks potentially harmless.”

You and he walk over to the stand he all pointed at. This game be one where you pick up a fake gun as shoots water, all aiming at the target to try to fill it with water. It’s a fun little challenge to have at with friends and such.

You grin at him and pick up one of the water guns, asking, “Want for a friendly contest to see who done finishes first?”

Karkat scoffs and picks up another gun beside you, saying, “In the most non-sexual manner possible.”

You snort and say, “Just have some motherfuckin fun already, damn.”

Karkat smirks as he aims his gun and starts shooting at the target.

You quickly start shooting at your target as well, exclaiming with a grin, “Motherfucking cheat!”

Karkat cackles and says, “It’s not cheating, it’s gaining a tactical advantage. Basic military stuff, you should learn it sometime!”

You snicker and say back, “That being so? Got my own knowledge onto some ways what to be all triumphant as well.”

You bump your side against his careful and he stumbles slightly, seeming to have not expected at that, before saying, “No fair, you have highblood strength on your side.”

“Cause starting early be so much fairer,” you say with a smirk. Karkat bumps back against you in what you assume to be retribution. You chuckle as you and he all be playful bumping into each other as you go on about your silly little contest. Since he expects it now, he don’t get misbalanced like the first time, so eventually Karkat does all fill his first despite your efforts.

He throws up his arms, prongs fisted as he exclaims his victory, “Hell yeah, take that.”

He turns to sharply grin victory at you and you smile soft back, chuckling slight. Karkat goes a little red and says, “Fuck, I got too into it, didn’t I?”

You scoff and start to walk away, gesturing for Karkat to follow as you reply, “Nah kin. I be knowing the difference between friendly competition and true rivalry. Ain’t nothing wrong with being competitive, nor with all having pride at winning.”

Karkat grunts and mutters, “As long as you didn’t get the wrong idea.”

You shake your nugbone with a smirk, “Nah, chill kin, I got you.”

After a pause, you turn to Karkat and ask, “You thirsty? I could all go for a drink myself right now abouts.”

“Yeah, I’m a little thirsty,” Karkat replies. “This place have anything aside from that weird soda that is somehow religiously entangled with you bizarre circus dwellers?”

You chuckle and say, “Yeah, got other kinds of soda, water and other shit such as that.”

You spot another food vendor close by and quickly turn to walk towards it, once again being to wait in line. You grin at Karkat as you remember something and say, “Shit my kin, I know a thing what you should try.”

Karkat all raises an eyebrow at you and asks, “What would that be?”

You smile and say, “It’s being called floating iceberg. It’s this drink as has cold-dairy in some soda. It’s the bitch’s tits, I all excitably be to recommend it.”

Karkat scoffs and mutters, “I might think about it.”

It be your turn in line now and you say, “I’d like a floating iceberg.”

You look at Karkat all eager expectance and he stares at you all flatly before sighing like he be indulging you as he says, “Make that two.”

The cook quickly makes the drinks before handing them to you both, and you grab yours and announce at no one in particular, “Motherfuckin wicked.”

You and Karkat walk away from the stand and you say at him, “Let’s all sit in the main church. Can watch an act or something while we drink these.”

“You really are going to drag me to everything you possibly can, aren’t you,” Karkat asks all calm, sounding unbothered by the idea.

You laugh and say, “Might be. Or could just all be as I’m doing as I would normally do to be all relaxing and having at some fun.”

You turn and smile at him as you ask, “Are you to having some fun yet yourself though?”

Karkat tries to hide a smile by smirking all fake-pretentious and shrugging at you as he says, “I guess that’s my secret.”

You snort and bump into him gently, saying, “Ain’t a very well-kept secret then.”

“You have no proof of anything,” Karkat says smugly.

You chuckle at him slightly, saying, “Ain’t needing proof, when the truth, be all plain to see, written on your face with lines of glee. Not a thing needs to be told, when the reality’s as good as gold, all in front of me as bright as day, and for that I say praise and yay. For enjoyment I have brought to you, which be a hard motherfucking thing as to do.”

“If that’s your idea of torture, congratulations because it could just work if you keep it up,” Karkat mutters, voice all sudden humorless.

“My kin, you always be so harsh at my rhyming and lyrics, why’s that so? I got good motherfucking skill in of it, ain’t like I’m some motherfucker as couldn’t rhyme if my tongue was on the line,” you say, not really upset or nothing, just curious.

“Because slam poetry is difficult to understand,” Karkat explains at you. “It’s like a rhyme or a riddle, layered with either religious clown hoofbeastmanure that I don’t get, or unnervingly erotic musclebeast appreciation that makes me want to gag, on top of the pacing which sometimes is too fast to discern any words from.”

You hum thoughtful before you both all walk into the main tent where it all looks as like something is about to begin. You grin and walk near the front and whisper, “Looks as if we’ve arrived just on time, let’s sit and be enjoying what all they have to show at us.”

You and Karkat both sit as a family member walks out and starts going on at their narration. Oh, you be recognizing this play already. It’s an old tragedy; there be two trolls as meet and fall into serendipitous pity, even though they be knowing they shouldn’t because their two separate groups of hatefriends are all at contention and near to warring or some shit. But they still do go get all red at each other in secret, making grand declarations of pity and lamenting over the dispute as is keeping them apart. Then one night, one half of the heart all be in an argument as ends in an accidental death. Seeing as the two groups had already done been all clashing already, even accidental as it may have been, they fear at someone killing them in vengeance. So that half of the heart runs away in hopes as things might blow over in time. The other half of the heart all knows of this plan and gets one of their own. They go and fake their death to try to make their hatefriends all see what consequences would be happening if they don’t stop. Thing is though, they don’t tell the first half of the heart about this, seeing as they already left and what all. So, the first half of the heart ends up hearing on how their matesprit was killed and gets all hysterical, rushing back to them quick as a motherfucker could run. Now, the other half of the heart had dosed themselves with some shit as would put them to sleep what was good as death in every motherfucking way for a few hours. So, when the first half of the heart comes to them, they were all truly appearing to have died and both were unaware of what all was going on in true reality. The first half of the heart be broken at seeing their matesprit all apparent dead, so they went and spoke words of pity before ending their suffering by drinking true poison as to be with their matesprit. Lo and behold, the other half of the heart wakes up soon after, all finding their matesprit a dead corpse to their distraught. After crying mournfully, they try to take the poison as well, just to find what there ain’t none left. With not much other way, in grief they all use a knife and stab through their own chest so as to die with their matesprit. Afterwards, the two groups of hatefriends find them like this, and the narrator once again speaks to wrap up the play.

As the play ends, everyone applauds the thespians as they take their bows. As the clapping slows down, a lot of the gathered audience begins to leave the tent as the actors all start cleaning up for the next thing to be shown, and you hear a bit of a sniffle followed by, “Okay, hell, that was the saddest, most amazing thing I’ve watched.”

You smile and turn to see Karkat's gander bulbs be wet as he be struggling to keep dismay fluid in. You feel yourself soften as you say, “Glad to hear it.”

“Fuck,” Karkat says, voice thick, “Just give me a minute.”

He breathes shakily, seeming to attempt at gaining control over his dismay fluid and emotions. You think that might all not be good for him, seeing as bottling up emotions ain’t ever a good thing that you heard on of. Even so, you leave him be, having plans for to just sit and enjoy some other acts until he asks to go back to what planet as his battleship be on.

Chapter Text

When you wake the next night, the first thing as enters your pan is the knowledge of that the most holy initiation is tonight, and you will for the first time be leading it to be done correctly. Your emotions all get feeling as like soda fizzing up happy even as your gut twists itself into knots. As you get ready by putting on clean makeup, you try to also settle down and focus on all the words you need to be speaking. You end up brushing through your hair like three motherfucking times in a repeated nervous action, but it don’t look no better for all the toil you put into it. Giving up on that, you take one last glance on of yourself, seeing as you look more motherfucking ready then you feel. You head out of your block, knowing what your family be preparing the grounds under the cover top for the initiation. You figure the mobile carnival has all come back for initiation by now as well, and you sit in the empty main church, trying to find the tranquility as you’ll need for to do the initiation.

After a moment or two of all making your breathing deep and even, you start praying, “Messiahs, on this most holy of motherfucking nights, I call as you would turn your auricular sponge clots to listen at my prayer. Tonight, as I be certain you already well motherfuckin know, be the night as new faithful will join into your ranks. I am to be the one as will bring those siblings, brothers, and sisters at to you. I will be the one as does this, all for you both. I praise as you have given me this opportunity and motherfucking privilege. I will do all in my power to make you proud to call me one of your faithful, one of your ministers, one of your Grands. Let me be your vessel tonight so that I can properly bring the faithful to you both. Eternally I give you praise and thanks for all. In your names and your holy honks never-ending, I pray, amen.”

You take another deep breath, exhaling slowly before standing and making your way out of the main church. Under the cover top, your family has set up the large ancient ablution trap and they are filling it with the wicked elixir at the moment.

You grin widely and walk over, asking the nearest sibling, “Anything as I could help you all with?”

They glance at you quickly, before looking away and muttering, “No thanks.”

Then they look back at you with wide gander bulbs and squeak out, “Grand Pulpiteer! I didn’t realize it was you!”

You chuckle and say, “Ain’t no problem my family. You certain as you don’t be in need for an extra set of prongs?”

“I,” they say, “No, no, that’s not necessary! We’re almost finished here either way. Thank you for asking though.”

They walk away from you and you stand for a moment, wondering what all to do while waiting for this all to be set up.

“Hey, you tall ass motherfucker,” a familiar voice shouts. You turn to see sister Primra grinning at you, wearing a poufy purple dress with black frills, her sign in her color all looking like a sideways lightning bolt.

You smile back at her before she tackles you to the ground. Sister Primra is wearing makeup as is mostly dark grey with light grey that curves above her gander bulbs, and rust under her gander bulbs and connecting to the light grey in what is almost a ‘z’ shaped line. Her hair is medium length with curls at the ends, her horns almost make a side-ways ‘z’ shape.

You chuckle as she sits on you and playfully asks, “Who the fuck said you were allowed to be that goddamn tall?”

“Messiahs did my sis,” you reply casual, “if you got issue with it, spout your noise at them.”

Primra snorts before climbing off you and helping you up, saying, “Been a while, you asshole. Left me and Ladore to do all those subjugglations by ourselves. Rude as fuck, my brother. And now with the new Empress we can’t even kill as we see fit. Motherfucking bullshit is what it is.”

You huff fondly and Primra looks at you, saying, “Ah, not saying that you didn’t make a good move with the shit on the Imperial Army. Just annoyed at the new fish, you know?”

“I motherfuckin feel you my sister,” you complain grumpily. “Can’t get her off my motherfucking tail as of late.”

Primra laughs and says, “Yeah, I don’t envy that you have to deal with all those salt motherfuckers now that you’re our Grand. Some nights I want to just fucking slaughter every last one of them fish fucks and I don’t even see fin nor gill of one!”

“Lucky motherfucker,” you say. “I think I’m bound to start sprouting scales if I have to deal with any more brine.”

“Well you are closer to fins and gills then most of the rest of us,” Primra cackles, “If someone was going to turn into a fish it would be you!”

You groan exaggeratedly before saying, “I’d hate that shit so much. Hair’s already a motherfucking monstrosity. Can you imagine if I got saltwater in it all the time? Not to mention my poor makeup. Ocean water be a most motherfucking unrighteous thing to a motherfucker’s holy face.”

“Yeah, true,” Primra says. “Praise Messiahs as they didn’t put any more salt in your blood.”

“Motherfucking praise,” you agree. After a pause you say, “What’s up though my sis, just thought at wanting to shoot the shit since it’s been a while?”

“Mostly,” she says. “But also, I heard a rumor, and was wondering on the truth of it. Some motherfuckers like spreading shit for fun, but I just think that’s all a waste of time. I didn’t want to bother you last night, but some of the family be thinking as you might be moirails with some faithless motherfucker now? Leader of the Imperial Army or some shit?”

Your face gets hot and a strange confused noise exits your squeal pipette. Primra blinks rapidly, her eyebrows raising at you, and you say, “No, motherfuck. We just be friends. He’s kin and that’s the motherfucking end of that noise.”

Primra laughs sharply, “But you want more than that, right?”

Your auricular shells and cheeks burn as you keep your talk blaster shut tight. Primra smirks at you and says, “Don’t motherfucking front at your family, dumbass. It’s obvious as fuck that you’re smitten as hell.”

You cover your face with one prong, muttering, “Motherfuck, seems as if it be plain to every other motherfucker aside from me. Still trying to figure this shit out in truth my sister. Attraction and shit don’t mean shit-all without all the other pieces of the puzzle.”

“What pieces are missing then,” Primra asks. Then she goes all taught and snarls out, “He disrespect the church or some shit?”

“No,” you near shout out, quickly extending an open prong towards her in a ‘stop’ motion. “Motherfuck, no, be peace, please my sister.”

She relaxes some, gander bulbs intent at you and what all you be saying.

“First off,” you say with a scowl, “You think as I would let some bitch ass motherfucking heathen get away with that type of shit, romantic feelings or not? Faithful Minister ain’t a title as I take lightly. Neither is Grand Pulpiteer, for that motherfucking matter.”

Primra sighs and says, “Fuck no, my brother. Never thought that. Just typical mistrust of unfaithful speaking out this here talk blaster of mine.”

You huff and say, “Guess as I could understand that. Motherfucking damn though, you still be fierce as ever.”

Primra grins and happily says, “Powerful Sentinel ain’t a title I take lightly either!”

She laughs a bit, seeming to relax before asking, “No serious though, the motherfuck you mean some shit is missing? If he ain’t spoken heresies at you and you motherfucking pity him, the fuck you waiting for?”

You grumble and growl out, “Nothing says as I should rush into doing anything. Can’t a motherfucker take his time? Still got to finish this heinous business with what damned fish as is being a right nuisance. Got other more important shit as to do before worrying on about quadrant bullshit.”

“My brother, all I hear are excuses and fear,” Primra says with an unimpressed face aimed at you. Then, she makes a gesture and continues, “Then again, I ain’t you and I ain’t the Messiahs. Long as you and them are on the same page about this, who the fuck am I to try to tell you what you should do?”

“I should get out your hair for now though,” Primra says after a pause. “You got initiation shit to do and all that. All us missed you, don’t be a motherfucking stranger for six sweeps again! I’ll be so fucking mad!”

She punches your shoulder a little roughly before skipping off. You rub your arm slightly as it smarts, turning to look at the now filled ablution trap. The family as were setting this shit up have all most likely gone to get the initiates. You can motherfucking do this.

“Grand Pulpiteer,” you turn at the sound of a quiet voice talking to you.

The sibling looks younger then you by far, maybe nine, old enough to be a sweep into the church at least.

You smile at them easily as you ask, “Sup?”

“Uh, here,” they mutter, handing you a bunch of towels. “Pontifex Degist told me to give you these.”

You take them and say, “Thanks my sibling. Mind all thanking Pontifex for me as well?”

They nod slightly before skittering away quickly. You huff at them, finding their haste a little funny. You all remember the time as you were that swift with doing favors, especially for Prakis. You kind of hope that means the clericals might be getting another joining them in a future carnival of entitlement. You think to yourself for a while, trying to tally up the carnivals as you’ve surely missed, and see for which one will be the next to come. You think it’s gonna be a carnival of transformation, but then again those be unpredictable as fuck sometimes. If it ain’t that one, then maybe a carnival of partnership or a carnival of festivity? You don’t think the next carnival of dispute will be for another half sweep or so. Oh, but the hatchmates seem to be ten, so the next carnival could very well be the Carnival of Entitlement. But probably not the one as that sibling would get a title at, unless they a special case like you was. Happens on occasion, what a motherfucker all earns a title before ten, but it ain’t all too common.

Motherfuck, you’ve missed the church and all the carnivals something real intense, but that don’t mean it ain’t a busy as fuck time after conscription. So much shit as you got to be thinking at and preparing for, goddamn, you are bound to wear yourself thin.

You put the towels down beside the ablution trap before walking out in front of it. You watch as the educators bring the initiates out, all bare faced in preparation for the initiation. It’s easy to spot Shrila amongst them, him all being older and therefore taller than the rest. You smile as they all come to stand in front of you, the rest of the family all gathering around to witness the initiation.

You ain’t got to wait too long before it appears as if everyone has arrived. You can’t be sure as you don’t know the exact number of church faithful, but the movement of trolls all walking to join the crowd eventually settles, and you take that as sign that they be ready.

Just to ensure though, you call out question to your family, “Have all the faithful gathered on this most holy of nights?”

“Yes Grand,” the crowd’s response reverberates, all to making one voice out of many voices. Something, nervousness or excitement or both, all shivers down your arms and the back of your neck. Motherfuck, this is happening.

You take a breath to steady yourself, then say, “Then let Messiahs witness this initiation as new faithful all come to join and vow themselves to the faith.”

You pause, focusing your gaze and attention at the initiates, bringing the attention onto them. When you speak, it’s a voice you don’t hardly recognize with how calm and sure it sounds. You don’t bother to stop and wonder where your conviction is coming from, you just silently praise Messiahs for helping you do this right, “Do you all believe in the holy Mirthful Messiahs?”

You observe the group of young initiates, seeing them for their nervousness and excitement, feeling that right alongside them for all your voice don’t be to showing it, “Do you expectantly await their honks and their Carnival of Afterlife?”

“If you do, say praise Messiahs,” you tell them.

“Praise Messiahs,” the initiates shout, all eager yet anxious, the tenseness of waiting and expecting all bursting out of them.

You smile slightly and say, “Amen, brethren.”

The older gathered around murmur ‘amen’ and ‘preach’, but you go on and speak at the initiates, your voice all the certain-calm it gets when you speak scripture, “Having heard all you have this past week, having learned all the important lessons as you need to know before initiation, have you had time to think on the truths you’ve witnessed and decide on your own what you want to do? Did you think long and hard at this, did you search into your soul for the true answers within yourself? Do you truly know what you’re committing to? In discovering the truths spoken by the Church of the Mirthful Messiahs, have you decided by your own choice to commit yourselves to the Messiahs? If these are truths, shout it out.”

“Truth,” the initiates again shout, but less anxious this time, more intent and less nerves.

“Praise Messiahs brethren,” you speak, and the family all assembled around say ‘praise’ hushed.

You take a breath and continue, “I advise for you all to take motherfucking caution now, heed at what I speak for in this first and most important vow you make, you are swearing yourself to the service of the Messiahs. Their words, wills, and whimsies will be your foremost authority, and no other shall ever take their place. This is a vow that if broken, you shall be barred from the Carnival of Afterlife and put into Eternal Nothing, where you will know the agony of being worth no regard to those who created everything. Knowing all these as truths, are you fully willing to vow yourself to the Mirthful Messiahs? If so, vow on your life and soul, both mortal and eternal.”

“I vow on my life and soul, mortal and eternal,” the initiates speak as one voice, resolve and surety in their voices, “and forever shall I be in servitude to the Messiahs and their whimsies.”

“Motherfucking miracles brethren,” your voice comes out a little wheezy, near overwhelmed with joy at hearing the vows being spoken by these initiates.

None of the family seems to notice or care on your breathless voice as they speak their various approvals; ‘praise’, ‘miracles’, ‘amen’, ‘preach’, and ‘truth’. All discordant yet joined as one, truest motherfucking worship and comradery.

“Those who have committed to the Messiahs full and entire,” you speak after a second of hearing the joyous noise of your family. At hearing you, they do all go gradual silent, while you just continue at speaking, “come forward to be immersed in the wicked elixir, to seal the commitment what you just made.”

The initiates all walk forward silent, and you stand behind the ablution trap. You offer your prong to whomever decides to go first, and one steps forward, taking your offered prong as you support them so they can get into the ablution trap. You wrap an arm around their shoulders, their weight all against you as you hold their torso out of the elixir.

You gently ask them, “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” they reply quietly. You nod and quickly dunk them for a second before pulling them back up.

They gasp when they surface, and you smile softly as you say, “Welcome, my family.”

They stare at you with wide gander bulbs, the elixir dripping off their bare face as you help them out the ablution trap before wrapping a towel around their shoulders and ruffling their sopping wet hair.

“Wait over to the side as your brethren also seal their commitment,” you say quietly, subtly pointing as you do so. They nod and walk off, and you turn to the rest of the initiates, offering your prong once again.

The actions and words stay very much the same, one after another as you ask if they be prepared before dunking them in the wicked elixir, welcoming them to the family, wrapping them in a towel and ruffling their hair. Many sob happily after they seal their commitment, Shrila being one of them – weeping out of disbelief and overwhelming joy, just as you did sweeps ago. It’s, it’s just, you’re just so motherfucking proud. Pride in your family is swelling in your chest, bound to burst and make you start motherfucking sobbing from it. Even as your emotions threaten to take you all asunder in good ways, you are tranquil as fuck at the same time. It is the pure inner peace in your soul that faith brings at to you and it’s still the truest miracle you’ll ever experience.

When you help the last initiate get out of the ablution trap, wrapping them with a towel and ruffling their wet hair, they walk over to the group of those who went before them with barely held in dismay fluid. You had counted as you went along, and that makes twenty-seven new faithful, praise motherfuckin Messiahs.

You turn now to the family who watched the whole proceeding, saying, “Messiahs have witnessed these trolls fully committing to the faith, so from now on and forever more, they shall be known as the Messiahs’ faithful.”

There’s a slight murmur of ‘amen’ and ‘preach’, and you grin sharply as you shout out, “Let the family all be to welcome the newest of our faithful family and all the family praise Messiahs at the new faithful who joined!”

The crowd shouts, ‘praise,’ the ‘voodoos as had been still with watching all turned loose, a feeling of pride and solidarity spreading out with a subsonic thrum that near makes the air tremble. Then they all go forward to welcome their newest family members with grins and laughter, the ‘voodoos buzzing with ambient energy. You laugh all giddy yourself, not hesitating to join in on the welcoming of your family. The family is humming with noise most joyous, jokes and laughter and tears and slam poetry and wicked elixir being shared and passed around. You hug Shrila when you find him, and you be yelping slightly when Primra startles you by jumping onto your shoulders without no warning. You laugh as she tells you how you were “a motherfucking great and miraculous wonder to see” while doing initiation. The others as you got initiated with join in on the reunion.

Ladore be wearing tights that have a diamond pattern of assorted colors; purple, blue, yellow, pink, green, black; as well as purple boots with thick heels with three black circles down the front of them. he got a choker around his squeal pipette with his sign hanging off it, it’s all being silver and looks like a crown with a backwards ‘k’ holding it up. His long wavy hair is tied up in a messy bun right now, and his horns are ones that go up before bending down. He has makeup that has a light grey base, dark grey across his gander bulbs like a mask as well as a small bit of dark grey on his chin, bracketed by a pair of lines – rust and yellow. He also got olive as curved triangles down from one corner on each gander bulb, rust in upside-down ‘v’-like lines high on his forehead, yellow dots under them, then pairs of lines – rust under yellow again – on his cheeks. It is more color then you remember him having last time you saw him, and you figure he decided to just add more at whatever whim he gets.

Enbald as has makeup what is mostly light grey with triangle shapes of rust marking out their cheek bones and dark grey around their gander bulbs, as well as dark grey in a line that runs down their forehead and cartilaginous nub, and another shorter line from their bottom lip down to their chin. Their hair is short and messy, and their horns wave similar as to yours, but they got a more severe twist to them, and grow out wider, not taller. They be wearing a long-sleeved black shirt with a high collar and a long light purple skirt, their sign in their color looking like a ‘u’ with a waving line across it.

Geatio, who has makeup as is mainly light grey with four dark grey lines over his cheeks, a dark purple cloth wrapped around his groin being his only clothing, with it all held together by a piece of metal shaped into his sign. His sign, for all lack of a better way to describe it, looks like a skywhale. His hair is very short and curled close to his nugbone, his horns ones as curve down and frame his face. You make a joke as he dressed up for initiation, and he says clothes are the worst thing as was ever invented, Primra loudly disagreeing with him from atop your shoulders. They argue ‘yes’ and ‘no’ back and forth, Mimica telling you of how they finally became moirails four sweeps ago, after apparent sweeps of flirting and avoiding the topic. You never once all thought that they were flirting at each other when you were all young, your other friends saying that is about what they expected from you, but either way you’re happy as all fuck for them. You also get quickly caught up onto the other quadrants as got official between them all while you were gone. Your friends been busy as fuck, you joke with them about it all suggestively and they groan at you over it.

You tell them all how you met Shrila, them all getting righteous happy by your storytelling, Shrila going all blue from it. Educator Gimnas appears out of nowhere, startling the shit out of Shrila when they mutter about how he should talk about the heretics he killed a couple of nights ago. Shrila be embarrassed as fuck to tell it at first, but between him and educator Gimnas, you hear the full length of it. Most your friends all lightly sock you in the back of the nugbone for being an idiot about running off on your own. When educator Gimnas talks about how because of that, you slept through the day in a cave with someone, they honk and whoop, demanding you tell them who it was, as you feel yourself go purple.

Educator Gimnas just laughs before saying all smart, “Guess my family, just motherfucking guess.”

Primra must get it first ‘cause she laughs so hard she falls right the fuck off your shoulders, crying from the humor and gasping out little bits of words, “Fucking, Messiahs, hahaha! Holy motherfuck, I cannot believe – aha – ahahaha! Shit Gamzee, ha, aha, you, oh by the Mirthfuls, you are fucking – hahahaha!”

Your other friends be not quite caught up to the joke, but then Shrila says, “Wait, Martinet?”

Geatio and Ladore get it then, and start keeling over in their laughter. You growl-whine quietly, embarrassed to fuck. Your face and auricular shells be literal fire right now you think.

“Martinet,” Enbald mutters, “Ain’t I heard that before?”

“That,” Mimica starts, stops, looks at you real intent. “Holy shit really? The motherfucker as rumor was being spread about?”

“Oh shit yeah,” Enbald shouts. After a slight pause, they wave their prongs around all like signaling to stop, “Wait, wait a fucking second. The one some were saying you got as your palemate?”

“He, ha-ha, he motherfucking said they weren’t earlier,” Primra manages through her laughter. “Got so fucking embarrassed and defensive about saying they weren’t pale, but – ahahaha – he didn’t say – ha hahaha! Fucking Messiahs-”

Enbald gasps out before falling into laughter. “Holy shit, holy shit my brother, pftahahahaha!”

You groan and mutter, “I motherfucking hate at you so fierce right now educator Gimnas.”

Educator Gimnas laughs and says, “Well it’s motherfucking hilarious. You wouldn’t tell a family member to not spread a tale so motherfucking righteously comical, right Faithful Minister?”

You snap your teeth harmlessly at them and huff out your cartilaginous nub, muttering, “Ain’t got to mean I can’t be all mortified by of this, seeing as the joke be on my motherfuckin dumbness, motherfucker.”

“Nah, nah,” educator Gimnas says, waving their prong dismissively. “Not you being dumb, more like you being oblivious as fuck.”

You hear Mimica snickering behind his hand and frown, muttering to them all, “Lay off me some, alright?”

“You slept in a motherfucking cave over day, and you are trying to say neither of you are pale for the other,” Mimica says like seeking for clarification. “My brother, no true offense, but goddamn, I do not believe that shit for one second. Tell me a time as another motherfucker was able to spend a day sleeping so near someone who was not family or already a quadrant.”

“Hint, it ain’t happened,” educator Gimnas says all snarky.

Your friends all laugh at you for a while longer, Shrila looking baffled about something, and educator Gimnas disappearing before you can try to get them back for embarrassing you. You were thinking on maybe trying to slam some poetry and see if you could get back some of your motherfucking dignity doing that, but it seems as if as soon as you thought it, they were just motherfucking gone. You let it go with no small amount of frustration, for all you try not to let that frustration be known. Eventually you leave them to laugh themselves out, parting with a smile and a wave.

Now that the family’s had some time to greet each other and shit, the excitement has died down some, and you make your way to a spot as you can look at all the family before you raise your voice to speak at them, “Now that the initiates have joined to the faith and have all properly been welcomed, I encourage them newest family members to go and put on a face as is more personal to them.”

The young family members all bustle off at hearing that, shivering and probably sticky down to their bones, grinning as they most likely devise what they want their holy face to look like. You don’t even have to say nothing before the rest of the family starts cleaning up the grounds. You help clean, of course, even though your arms are sticky as fuck, and it ain’t long before everything is back to how it’s supposed to be. You yawn and stretch when all’s said and done, worn and tired, and just. So happy. Twenty-seven new faithful, praise Messiahs.

You try to ask Prakis about the next carnival, or if the church needs more living spaces, or something else you think you need to get done but can’t quite remember, but they shoo you off, saying to get done with the Empress before you do anything else. They be right, like always; now that initiation is over, you know you got to go back to Karkat and his vessel. Go back up into space. Speak with Feferi. You really don’t want to do that shit. Apparently Prakis sees to giving you a bit of mercy on the matter, and suggests you sleep for the day, seeing as you’re so worn. Since sleep is likely to come at you and take you out like a laughsassin, making you all drop like a motherfucking fly without no warning, you figure that’s reasonable and shamble off to your block. Before you all pass out though, you take care as to let Karkat know that you won’t be coming his way tonight.

terminallyCapricious [TC] started trolling carcinoGeneticist [CG]

TC: heeey my main mortherfucker :o)) )

CG: HOLY SHIT. ARE YOU DRUNK GAMZEE???

TC: honkhonkhahahaha

TC: nah jusreal tired :;o0

CG: HOLY SHIT GO TO FUCKING ‘COON.

CG: FUCK WAIT! I MEANT LIKE. AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH GODDAMN IT!

CG: WHATEVER YOU SLEEP IN. GO TO THAT.

CG: FUCK, I’M TOO TIRED FOR WORDS.

TC: haha me tooo

TC: but hu innitation be all gone and done straight out from scripture like the right true miracle it is always meant to be being praise mother fucking messiahs

TC: and i just wanted you all to get knowing at that i was gongo and pass the motherfuckin shit out till tomorrow nithg

CG: GOOD TO FUCKING HEAR. SEE YOU TOMORROW THEN.

TC: haha honk yeha :o) :o) :o)

Now as that all is settled and done, you quickly wash off before falling into your sleeping pile and making like you be dead to the world.

Chapter Text

You get on over to Karkat first thing, after you wake up and get all ready for the night. Things be near to settled finally, and you are all to looking forward at seeing Feferi in personal to make all sure as she true holds her word. Karkat ain’t in near as good a mood as you, looking for all the world like he just wants to punch something repeatedly while all at the same time looking like he wants to pass the fuck out for a long ass time. It’s a strange look as you ain’t never quite seen on a motherfucker’s face before. He grumbles on the trip back to the training compound, most likely cursing at a plethora of things and hating on the manner in which they fucked him over. All in all, the trip was fairly quiet. Karkat never rose his voice as you are used to by now, so you sat on the floor near him and listened to his muttered non-words, enjoying the feeling of his company.

When you arrive at the training compound, you have to wait a couple of minutes for the docking bay to be safe before you can exit Karkat’s battleship. You walk at Karkat’s side, walking out into the training compound where several trolls are standing around and chatting. You recognize Captor, Eridan, and Feferi straight off, Karkat sighing before walking off towards the group of them with you following.

As you get closer, you halt at a familiar figure as catches your entire attention. Standing all tense and rigid, wearing heavy motherfucking armor with his indigo-blue arrow symbol all over one shoulder. Hair long and straight, same broken dark glasses, same broken horn, the one unbroken having an arrow-shaped tip. Equius. Messiahs deliver you from this situation.

Before you can even think of anything beyond the gut-deep desire to turn and avoid the shit out of everything for another six sweeps, you hear a familiar voice snarl, “You.”

That’s when you see her next to Equius. Nepeta. You ain’t quite ever felt fear like you’re feeling at seeing her right now. Baring her fangs full threat, wearing what looks to be light chainmail armor and something as looks like the pelt of a fierce beast much larger then herself wrapped around her waist, holding it there be a buckle molded into her sign; which be a circle connecting to what almost is a sideways ‘s’. Her hair be short and messy, her horns looking as like a meowbeast’s, and her weaponized claws be out with intention.

She runs at you with a yowl and Karkat shouts, “Oh, what the fuck –”

She ain’t paying no mind to Karkat though, gander bulbs tinged orangey-yellow as she pounces for you. You barely get your body to respond before dodging by all falling back and rolling away from her. You hear her land heavy on the floor, claws scraping the metal as you come out of your roll, strut pods spreading out to brace your weight in preparation for more dodging. One of your prongs is hovering just above the floor where you had used it to help you get up, and the other holds one of your clubs tightly in what was an instinctual draw on of your weapon. You don’t really want to use this, but your sweeps training to fight got their action on before you could all determine your own desires in the matter.

Nepeta coils up to pounce at you again as she spits, “I told you if I e-fur saw you again, I’d kill you!”

Your pump biscuit is racing and you don’t want to fight her, you don’t want to kill her, you want to just run away. But she’s a predator, running will all only make her chase you down in a hunt. You ain’t got much option but to dodge and avoid and stay fucking alive until. Until you don’t know what. Equius woulda already stopped her if he had wanted her to not harm you. She ain’t quite likely to just wear herself out, and you don’t got too much places to hide as she couldn’t reach you eventually. You ain’t got a clue what all to do in this here situation. It’s in Messiah’s prongs, or at least you motherfucking pray it is, ‘cause you need a straight true goddamn motherfucking miracle right now.

Both of you quit,” you hear Feferi shriek. Feferi’s golden trident piercing into the floor between you and Nepeta. Which be followed by Feferi stomping over, fins flared and snarling at you both while she speaks, “You all are going to talk this out like civilized trolls, and that is fin-al!”

You breathe steadily, watching both Nepeta and Feferi intently. Now you all be facing against a lioness and a shark, and you ain’t total certain how the fuck you feel about that shit. You ain’t about to underestimate neither of these predators for all they might be smaller than you, you know better than that shit. You ain’t about to make yourself into prey for either of them.

“I think that Gamzee and I need to speak about what happened,” you glance over to see Equius has walked closer.

Nepeta makes a rattling hiss before shouting, “Fine! Whate-fur! If he makes a single threatening move towards Equius, he’s hiss-tory!”

“I’m sorry,” you say honestly. Both of them seem startled at hearing that, and you go on, “I’m most sincerely sorry. I never intended to do that shit. It ain’t something as I think nor speak on with pride. I flipped the fuck out and I’m motherfucking sorry for it.”

Equius takes a breath before saying, “Sorry doesn’t grant you forgiveness.”

“I ain’t expecting forgiveness,” you tell him, “not in the motherfucking least. I just want you both to know that I honestly regret the fuck out of what I did. It might mean nothing to you both, but I do mean it with all my soul.”

“That doesn’t make up for what you did,” Equius says calmly.

“Ain’t sure how the fuck as I would make up for it, ain’t about to offer my life,” you say, sighing out your cartilaginous nub. “Nepeta would motherfucking slaughter me, not as I can blame her, but I ain’t wanting to die. What more can I motherfucking say at you? What is there as would change anything as has gone and done passed? Ain’t much I can motherfucking say as would actually mean jack shit to you. I’m sorry, really truly. I’m sorry and I didn’t mean to do that shit. That’s all I can say.”

Equius seems to study you for a moment, but Nepeta hiss-growls, “That’s it, that’s all you have to say fur yourself? Mew just come in here and play the ‘oh, I’m a psychotic highblood’ card, like that justifies it or is a legitimate excuse! You can’t really think that mew can just get away with that bullshit!”

“Ain’t claiming it was justified or nothing,” you say. “Just that it was what motherfucking happened and I can’t change that now. What the motherfuck you expect out of me? It’s done and in the past. I can’t turn back time and change what I did. All I can motherfucking do is apologize.”

“Your a-paw-ologies are fucking meaningless,” Nepeta snarls at you. “They are empty and pathetic and even if they weren’t, I re-fur-use to believe anything you’re saying! You’re not any less accountable fur your actions be-claws you had a hissy fit. Why the hell should you get away with what you did?”

“Because I’m telling you to not krill anemone-one,” Feferi cuts in icily. “He apologized, if you don’t want to forgive him that’s your choice, but krill-ing him will not solve any-fin. You’re the general of my ruffiannihilators and a good hatefriend Nepeta, please listen to me.”

Nepeta frowns and hisses, “What about him? How can you trust him?”

Feferi turns to you with a wide fang-filled smile, saying, “Oh, I’m shore he can think of a few ray-sons to not attack two of my generals! Gamzee, you should have apologized sweeps ago, by not taking responsibility you made it worse, next time own the hell up you dumb bass. From one hatefriend to another, no, from one leader to another, I hope my intentions are clear to you.”

“Yeah,” you mutter with a frown, knowing that she is threatening you. You never really planned on attacking Nepeta or Equius, so you don’t mind awful much. A part of you does, obviously, ‘cause she’s trying to fling your family under the skuttlebuggy once again, but you won’t bite into her lure. You be confused though, Nepeta and Equius are motherfucking generals, like Karkat? You hope Messiahs show you some humor on this, ‘cause otherwise you don’t know what all to make of that revelation.

After a pause Feferi asks, “Have the fish-ues been resolved then? At least enough to not krill anemone-one?”

“Guess so,” you mutter, trying to watch for signs as they might attack you. Just ‘cause you have no plans for attack, don’t all mean as they don’t.

Nepeta hisses, “I am satisfied fur now. What about you Equius?”

“Gamzee,” Equius speaks calm and quiet, “I suggest that you ensure that you do not repeat your previous actions. If it does happen again, I do not believe you will survive it this time.”

You repress the urge to just reflect that threat right the fuck back at him and instead say, “Ain’t got to worry on about that.”

“We shall see,” Equius says.

You don’t reply to him, seeing it pointless, and there’s a pause before Feferi says, “Sounds like this is as resolved as it’s getting!”

“I believe so,” Equius states as Nepeta nods.

“Good, so that means you two can put your glubbing weapons up any tide now,” Feferi says, purely addressing you and Nepeta. You both stare each other down for a while before Feferi fully gets between you to yank her trident out of the floor effortlessly, cheerfully saying, “I suggest you both do it soon, before I make you.”

You hesitate, gritting your teeth together before putting your club away. Nepeta relaxes slightly, her claws going back hidden, and after a pause Feferi cheerfully announces, “Glad to sea you two getting along!”

Her trident disappears, and you stand up straight, wanting away from this fighting arena. You quick-stride away from them all, stopping to be standing near Karkat. He jolts and yelps at your sudden presence, turning to you and hissing, “Don’t fucking do that, shit!”

“Sorry,” you mutter hush-quiet, and you ain’t certain what all you’re apologizing for fully. Startling him? The fight just then? Everything as you ever did wrong? All those things and more? You don’t quite know, but the guilt of whatever you be apologizing for sits heavy uncomfortable inside your guts.

Karkat looks up to glare at you for a second before sighing, his glare softening as he mutters, “Don’t apologize to me. You didn’t do anything wrong to me. Honestly, near attacks are common with these fucks. Though I am slightly curious what that was about.”

You pull a bit of a face, not really wanting to all talk about it, but Feferi grants you a change of topic. She clears her squeal pipette, smiling as she says, “Okay! Now that that business is done! I believe Karkat has some-fin to talk to you all about, so if you would please take it away.”

“Yes, now that everyone is done trying to maul each other for the time being, I would gladly move straight the fuck on to the actual business of why the fuck we’re tormenting each other with our collective presences,” Karkat growls out, moving his attention fully off and away from you. Which you be most glad at, for all a small part of you kind of frowns at it and okay, you’re gonna just stop analyzing every little motherfucking thought as you have right now because your pan is still hyped up from the potential danger and fight.

Karkat be going into that commanding voice and crossing his arms in front of his chest as he speaks firmly, “Long story short, everything worked out as planned. The insane religious freaks that the saner of us piss our collective pants over, the same ones that Grand Pulpiteer is so entirely fond of, will no longer bother the Imperial Army. So any previous plans have been dismissed on the grounds of it no longer being important.”

“This resolution seems surprisingly expedient,” Equius says with a frown in your direction. You ignore it and let Karkat deal with this shit.

“Yeah well, big fucking surprise, it seems like the clowns are assholes who like to play shitty pranks on everyone outside their faith and don’t actually want to fight the whole Imperial Army,” Karkat grumbles with a scowl. After a pause, he asks gruffly, “How are the troops that got mindfucked doing though?”

“The archeradicators whom reported the attack are hale,” Equius states. “My troops are very sturdy and can withstand most anything.”

“The ruffiannihilators nearly managed to track the clowns down and get them back before they retreated,” Nepeta says all haughty and huffy, but you ignore it because you don’t believe it for truth. She and even the ruffiannihilators might believe at it, but you know at your family better than that, you know they wouldn’t be near to being found unless they wanted to be all found.

“My group of diplomatrosses and I are fuckin fine now,” Eridan says.

Wait, what he said means he was in the group terrorized by your family? Guess that explains Feferi’s ocean-deep anger on about this. Shit, guess you were all suspicious on her reasons for no profit. Still a heinous un-miraculous clusterfuck what you got no enjoyment as having dealt with, but you can’t truly motherfucking blame her for getting upset if her moirail was all attacked by your family.

“Even if they won’t stop fuckin complainin about it like whiney ass beaches,” he mutters slightly, grimacing at no one.

“While they were startled and scared for a short while, the cavalreapers who were assaulted are better now,” some voice you don’t recognize says.

You turn to your other side to see a brown blood with motherfucking wings. Holy Messiahs, they got huge glittering brown-tinted wings. They be wearing a chest plate and some armguards, a symbol in brown on the chest plate that looks like a circle with horns out the top. And they do sure got huge ass horns to be looking at. Like, your horns are tall, but theirs are all considerable wide and thick, bending up at the end like some moobeast’s horns. Their legs stop around the middle of their thighs, some weirdly shaped fake-leg things all attached to them. Their hair is all shaved short on the sides with a long scruffy stripe on top from front to back. Something about them seems. Familiar.

“My threshecutioners are alright as well,” Karkat states evenly.

After another pause, he sighs out long and tired, asking, “Do I even dare to ask about the spider bitch? She has contact with all those dumb fucking pirates, right?”

“Vriska has a-mast-ed a lot of influence with the Gamblignants,” Feferi mutters with a scowl. “We know one of their vessels were attacked as whale, but she has been bass-ically re-fish-ing to let minnow any details over trawl-ian a-boat the manta. That hardly affects the result of our proceedings here honestly. The clownfish have been exonerated, the peace between us has been secured, and no wars will be started.”

Feferi hesitates before adding on, “A-ray-dia went to get her, Terezi, and Kanaya, mostly to update them of the situation, and so I can speak with Vriska perch-onally.”

Karkat kind of just goes blank for a long minute, in which Eridan walks over to Feferi and seems to send her concerned looks about something or another. Eventually, Karkat flatly says, “Great. Wonderful. I will surely enjoy the fuck out of seeing the scourge sisters in the flesh again. My pores have wept in their absence and now that they finally cometh once again, my soul shall rejoice.”

Karkat pauses before saying, “Now that we’ve discussed all that shit, I think we can move the hell on, and by move on I mean wait for the manipulative terrors, I fucking guess. Fucking lovely goddamn conference everyone, my purest pleasure to endure this hoofbeast manure. Shove a fucking spike up my own ass, that’s the only thing that’d be a better time, and apparently, it’s only going to get better in the coming nights. At least this was short and involved only a few major arguments, you can sure the fuck bet that I’m calling this to a close tonight before more headache inducing shit occurs. I don’t really give any amount of a shit about what you all do, but I’m going to fucking sleep. The troll who dares to wake me will end up with their nugbone up their fucking ass and their entrails dragged around and used like decorative banners. Please endeavor to not kill each other while I’m not around, you useless shit fuckers.”

Sleep does all sound as like a pleasant thing to be having right now, but the strangely familiar winged brown blood walks up to you with a smile as they cheerfully greet at you, “Hey, Gamzee, right?”

You blink and nod, “That be at my given name, for certain.”

They chuckle quietly, saying, “It’s great to see you. What have you been doing all these sweeps? I mean, you’re not dead, so that’s good. I thought that, well I haven’t heard from you since we were six so I, uh, kind of assumed you might have died.”

A cold bolt of uneasiness struck straight into your soul at hearing ‘we were six’ and you kind of just stare at this motherfucker, stunned and confused. Your pan recalls the unread messages what you saw on one of them phones, and in particular a brown colored handle as you couldn’t remember a troll to.

“I, uh, I don’t think as I recall you, sorry,” you glance away and shift, feeling major uncomfortable and nervous as to what they remember on of about you from when you were six.

They frown and ask you, “You really don’t remember me? Tavros Nitram, we used to talk on trollian all the time? We would rap at each other and stuff?”

Quick flashes of brown text and a fuzzy emotion, like distant bubbling laughter, cycles through your pan at the name.

“Oh,” you say numb-shock, then a brighter, “Oh, shit! Yeah, motherfuck! It’s been a while, but I think as I do recall some vague bits and pieces now as I heard at your name.”

You duck your nugbone slightly, apologetic as you nervously smile, “Sorry ‘bout forgetting on you. I ain’t got no good recall of my past, you ain’t the first as I got forgetting at.”

“It’s fine,” they say with a grin. “I’m glad to know you’re all right. Do you mind if I ask why you stopped responding after we were six though?”

“Church took me in,” you say fondly, happy to meet an old hatefriend, even if you don’t remember them full and entire. “I don’t think as I brought motherfucking anything as wasn’t already in my ‘dex at the time. So, I be fairly certain as I didn’t have my husktop or nothing. Only recently got introduced to these phone motherfuckers as well.”

They laugh and say, “That does sound like how I remember you.”

You tense up; you don’t particular mind remembering past pupahood hatefriends as you might have had, but the absolute last motherfucking thing as you want to be knowing is what they recall of you from back then.

“Ah, well,” you mutter, glancing away and rubbing the back of your neck. “That might be so, but lots of shit went up and made to changing when I got to church, even more done changed in the sweeps since as well. Ain’t the same troll as I was ten sweeps ago by a long shot.”

They shrug and say, “I would still like to be your hatefriend though. I’ve missed you.”

A dull thought whispers, wondering if the ‘you’ that they miss be the you as were high all the time. You hesitate, not wanting to particularly disappoint them, “Uh, we can all try as to get to know at each other again I suppose. You seem as like a nice enough motherfucker.”

They laugh lightly and say, “I don’t think you’ve changed that much Gamzee.”

You visibly flinch at the sharp stab of pain straight through your husk and soul as your whole existence tries to up and vehemently deny that. You don’t, you aren’t, it wasn’t you, not truly, you can’t, can’t, can’t. You can’t be him anymore, you motherfucking just cannot, motherfuck. Never, never again, never motherfucking again. You pray Messiahs would personally bring you to the Carnival of Afterlife before you went back to that shit again. Never, you can’t, you can’t go back;

dust from the back of the cabinets sticks to your prongs, you never knew the ice in the back of the freezer tasted so stale, old bottles of wicked elixir in the fridge may be cold but they ain’t had fizz in weeks, there ain’t nothing else and you’re just so fucking hungry

YOUR GOD DAMN STOMACH IS A MOTHERFUCKING CAVERN

Someone, you don’t know who, comes close to you. You sense it with your horns for your gander bulbs ain’t seeing right now, and you sense as they ain’t family, they don’t got the ‘voodoos of those you trust unquestionably. Your family’s trust is certain and assured, but whoever this be they ain’t of your blood, ain’t of your family. They got some kind of faint hum of psionics, but they ain’t your family. They ain’t trustworthy, they be an outside heathen motherfucker and you want them gone.

You slice your claws through the air nearby where they be near you, letting out a rattling snarl of a warning to leave you alone;

walk outside to see if dad’s gonna show up this time, having no true expectation as he will; he does as he pleases even as you hopelessly hope for something you stopped being hopeful for long ago; lonely and isolated, deprived and denied, abandoned and destitute, unprotected and exposed

YOU ARE ALONE, YOU ARE GODDAMN ENTIRELY MOTHER FUCKING ALONE

“Gamzee,” you bare your fangs full and entire, a deep rumbling snarl coming out of your talk blaster. For all you don’t feel the familiarity of ‘voodoos, your gander bulbs focus at hearing your name, and you see Karkat.

Family he may not be, but he’s proven to you that he is trustworthy. Your talk blaster relaxes out of the fanged threat you were presenting, breathing tight and quickly going away;

away, away, dad is always away

DEPARTED DISAPPEARED VANISHED ABSENT

A loud, “Gamzee,” startles you back to reality. You see Karkat again, and he looks mighty motherfucking frightened. His fear pulses into your skull, like the rapid pounding of your pump biscuit as you are pulled back to;

scrapes from rocks that hid nothing but sand and indigestible seaweed, sand between your digits from digging up nothing but empty shells, surf lapping at your strut pods when you stare at the unresponsive starless ocean, frigid wind chilling you down to your bones and slowly eroding pieces of your soul

PRAY NIGHTLY, WAIT PATIENTLY, BELIEVE ENTIRELY, HOPE DISTANTLY

“Gamzee,” you hear your name shouted again and you snap back to Karkat. “Gamzee, you need to breathe, alright? Take deep breaths with me, okay? Do you think you can do that Gamzee?”

Karkat all makes a show of taking a deep, even breath of air before slowly exhaling out. “Like that,” he says, “come on, I can’t breathe for you Gamzee.”

You gasp in a lungful of air, the exhale all coming out like a staccato.

“That’s,” Karkat says faulting, “improvement, I guess. Good job, keep on going like that, I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it eventually.”

You try to focus on breathing as Karkat’s voice anchors you to this reality. Karkat is close to you as he speaks, “You’re obviously freaking the fuck out and not in control of your psionic mind fuckery right now. I’m going to try to help you stop freaking out, like the time you helped me, the huge fucking difference being that I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing here.”

After a pause, he says, “Okay so uh, what next? Oh, do you want to go somewhere else?”

It ain’t the place as bothers you, it’s the past-reality trying to drag you under like an ocean current, it’s the motherfucking memories of a time what you usually only get haunted by in your daymares. Of when you walked around and fought and struggled just to survive, to just live another night. Of when you would have sworn that you could have seen the Handmaid’s curled horns just in the corner of your vision, but nothing was ever there when you looked, clubs pulled out in your shock that another troll might have gotten that close without you noticing. Aradia’s horns always have reminded you too much of those fear-visions that you ain’t sure were real or not;

the deafening silence of your lonely hive, the depressing feelings in your soul, the bone-deep exhaustion of your body, the fragility of every part and piece of you

JOY AND LAUGHTER A THING LONG LOST

“Gamzee,” Karkat’s voice brings you back to the reality where he is, saying, “Gamzee, stay with me okay? Maybe we should just focus on your breathing before trying to make you answer questions. I know I suck at this, but I’m going to try my damnedest, and I want you to try too.”

You take a deep and shaky breath, Karkat sighing like he’s relieved before saying, “Glad you understood what I meant, because at this point I don’t even know what I mean exactly. I know you were rambling about something like that while I was freaking out, though honestly, I can’t exactly remember all the shit you said. But you said something about not knowing what the fuck you were saying, but at least you had an idea of what to do to help. I’m just sitting here, trying to scrounge up the memories of what you did for me while I was having that flashback bullshit in the throne block. Which is a little hard to do when I was half out my pan at the time, and the fact that every time you lose your focus, your damned fear psionics decide to have a field night with everyone. Which seems to include yourself, but I could be wrong about that though, so feel free to correct me if you can.”

Karkat pauses and asks quietly, “Hey Gamzee, you still with me and my poor excuse of helping you not panic?”

You just focus on trying to even out your breathing, staring at Karkat as you realize that you’re both sitting, Karkat on his knees and you sitting with your knees up in front of your chest and your arms wrapped around your knees. A fleeting thought wonders when you stopped standing, but as quick as it floated in, it flies away like a leaf in the wind.

“Okay, I’m going to take the lack of hallucinations and attempts at breathing calmly as you being here in some aspect,” Karkat states, rubbing his prong against his forehead. “I think we’re both lucky right now that I am beyond used to sudden unwelcome remembrances. Makes your fear psionics not too hard to deal with if I use the same method I’ve developed with my panic attacks. Which is basically just a mantra of how it’s not real and in the past and blah blah blah.”

Then he looks at you and asks, “Would that help you? Reassuring yourself that whatever is messing you up right now isn’t real or is in the past?”

You laugh, a sharp airless panic-ridden thing, shaking your nugbone ‘no’ with a warped fang-filled smile on your face;

you see dad far off in the ocean like a miracle, you start screaming out for him desperately, hope a burning pain in the pit of your soul; you know you shouldn’t expect it, but you can’t help it, he was a good lusus once

HE WAS A GOOD AND MOTHERFUCKING CARING LUSUS ONCE

“Gamzee,” Karkat’s voice brings you back again. You gasp in a staggered breath of air, feeling wetness at the edges of your gander bulbs. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think. Okay so, it’s already well established that I have no fucking clue what I’m doing, but for what it’s worth, I’m sorry and I didn’t mean to make you upset. Focus on me Gamzee, please, just focus on me and breathe.”

You try to breathe, but it keeps on hitching as dismay fluid falls out of your gander bulbs. It hurts, it hurts so motherfucking much and you hate, you hate that it hurts, you hate being weak right now, you hate that this makes you so, so damned contemptable. It ain’t even pitiful, how much you hurt and ache over something so long gone as you had so little control over, shit’s downright motherfucking kill worthy. Maybe you should have just died back then. Maybe you should’ve just laid down and welcomed the Handmaid with open arms. Maybe Prakis should a left you on your shore when you were six. Maybe you were meant to die back then. Maybe that was the path Messiahs had for you;

he could be again, things could go back to the way they was, you don’t know why he started leaving like this, you don’t know what you did to make him go away so often; you’ll do whatever it takes to get back in his good graces, anything to have some shred of something normal or pleasant or happy again

MOTHER FUCKING ANY DAMNED THING TO GO BACK TO HOW IT ONCE WAS

“Gamzee, it’s okay, just breathe,” Karkat says all hushed. “It’s okay, you’re doing great, just breathe and stay with me.”

Maybe you being alive right now is the purest miracle Messiahs granted you. Maybe this is their answer to all the prayers you offered them as a pupa. Maybe this suffering is a lesson to learn from, something given to you to make you tougher. Maybe the sopor and hunger and loneliness all to be trials they put you through to make you who you are. Sopor and addiction a lesson on self-control and refusing temptation no matter how strong. Hunger and loneliness to make you fully appreciate the comfort of hive, of church, of family. Maybe it ain’t nothing but just a thing as happened, not trial, not a lesson. Maybe there isn’t always knowledge to gain through suffering, and maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s really what the Messiahs want you to realize. Maybe, maybe, maybe;

it don’t and it won’t and it isn’t; so you stay alone and lonely and isolated; all you are and all you know and all you’ll ever be

WHAT ALL YOU WILL EVER GET TO GODDAMN BE

Maybe you’ll never know. And maybe that’s okay too.

“Just breathe Gamzee, take a deep breath, come on,” Karkat’s voice encourages you gently. You gulp in some air before wheezing it out.

You don’t know worth shit why you thought at doing that back then. Even back then, you had wondered why such a thing would cross your mind. It was stupid and reckless and. You knew it. You probably ain’t ever to be figuring out as to how or why the thought all got it’s squirm on into your pan matter. Then again, you had tried to eat just about every motherfucking thing else in your hive by that point, so why not that, RIGHT? So, the fearful curiosity wormed into your thoughts all influential;

you have done all as you could do, prayed and waited and believed and hoped; hoping against all hope, believing despite others disbelief, waiting regardless of expectations, praying for miracles to come; no food, no friends, no lusus, no kindness, nothing to be had

DESPAIRING, MOTHER FUCKING WELL AND TRULY GOD DAMN DESPAIRING

“Exhale slower, if you can,” Karkat’s voice speaks at you through your memories.

Curious critter you was back then. Ain’t had no one to teach you what was right or wrong or bad or good. Well, there was the wicked word that you tried your best to learn, watched videos of trolls who would be your family, and tried to live your life all seeing miracles everywhere. And you ain’t counting those schoolfeed videos that were flashy and loud, overloaded with glittery pink everywhere, and sometimes those made you uncomfortable or was downright motherfucking confusing to your young pan. So you had to figure out on your own, which things made you sick if you ate it, which things had to be cooked unless you wanted to get sick, how to cook, how to stop stove fires, how much to cook something before the over-cooking made you sick, how much you can eat at once without getting sick. You got sick frequent as a pupa;

waves hitting your strut pods and dad nowhere in sight

LEFT, LEFT, AS ALWAYS YOU ARE LEFT ONCE AGAIN

but the shock would be if he was there

FOR IT SEEMS AS IF HE’S ALWAYS

nowhere, never been, gone, good as dead

“Now you’re getting the hang of it.”

But your curiosity taught you the things your dad never told you. Which wasn’t hard since all dad said was listen to the Empress or you’ll be killed, stay out of the water or you’ll drown and die, and always carry your clubs in case of sea dwellers or other dangerous shit as might attack at you and try to kill you. But you found out not a lot of food made you sick, seaweed and certain small bugs mostly; most things have to be cooked before you eat them, and those that you can eat raw you have to eat fresh-killed; skinning and cleaning the creatures dad brought home in the early times of him leaving you alone; methods as to use for preserving food; portioning to make something last for weeks or months or more; how no black marks and no weird coloration and no smoke all around food usually meant you could still eat it;

NOTHING WORKS

nothing ever works

MAYBE YOU ARE NOTHING

“Doing great Gamzee, just keep doing it like that.”

But a motherfucker could only do so much. There was only so far you could portion or preserve whatever thing dad brought home for you. And as the creatures got smaller and the departures lasted longer, there was only so much you could do. To try to make food last longer, eating every day became eating every other day, and then eating once a week, and then eating once every two weeks, and then eating once a month, and then eating once every other month, and then. Well, all the portioning in all the motherfucking world could only go so far. Your body, also, could only go so far before it was stretched to its limits and you were on the edge of dying. Clinging on with not much more than a prayer and a desperately exhausted grip;

a vast hollow, an empty void, a barren vacancy, a sunken crater; the echo of hunger so weak, not much more than a reminder that you might have once been fed, even if you have long forgotten how to not worry over eating

EAT, WHEN THE MOTHER FUCK DID YOU LAST GOD DAMN EAT

“Stay with me Gamzee, stay with me and breathe.”

It was then, with you so desperate as to try to eat objects as you even knew you probably wouldn’t be able to eat or digest. Horns, the tire of your one-wheel device. You shamefully admit you even considered eating some of your religious posters, just a little corner piece your pan had whispered traitorously, but you didn’t and instead prayed for forgiveness on even thinking of desecrating such a thing so important. That was the time in which the thought first appeared in your pan. You don’t remember what you were doing, asleep, awake, it hardly mattered at that point. But the slime in your cocoon was glowing bright lime-green, burning into the back of your gander bulbs, and the thought burned in your skull. The curiosity nibbled at you as you tried to find food around your hive, it squirmed and grew stronger as you found nothing on your shore that was edible. The schoolfeeds might’ve once told you about the dangers, might’ve once explained to you how to be careful, might’ve once had large pink-glittering words saying, ‘don’t do it’. You knew it, you knew it, some part of you knew. What it could do, what it might do, what it would do. It wasn’t enough to stop the all-consuming curiosity, the dreadful terror of death, and urgent need to eat something, anything;

the cavern of your stomach aches for some food, your soul hurts from your abandonment, you don’t know who you are or what you want or why you hope or try; you were deemed unworthy of attention by your lusus, deemed undeserving of kindness by your hatefriends, you’re a shame and a disgrace

BRIGHT TOXIC-GREEN GLOWS AT THE BACK OF YOUR GANDER BULBS

“In and out, just like that.”

MAYBE IT WAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE. Maybe you were just so motherfucking desperate and maybe you had no other choice. Death wasn’t truly a choice after all, it was a thing that happened, it was a thing to avoid yet inevitable to occur eventually. Even as it be unavoidable by all technicalities, you did what any sane living creature would do when faced with death; you tried to run. You went to curb and satiate your curiosity the only method you knew how, wretchedly terrified and impulsively distressed, you ate some sopor straight out of your recuperacoon. YOU STRAIGHT-UP DOWNRIGHT GULPED DOWN THAT TOXIC LIQUID. You ran right into the open welcoming arms of a poison you knew might still end up killing you. When you did so, you hardly even had time to fully register let alone react to the disgusting chemical taste before it hit you and like a light switch turned off;

everything

JUST

stops

Your nugbone slumps forward, banging against your knees limply.

“Gamzee,” Karkat says questioningly. “Are you okay Gamzee?”

You make a noise and close your gander bulbs, not knowing how to answer truly. No, is most of what your pan and body be telling you. Still alive though, and cognitive enough to know that ‘okay’ is pretty motherfucking subjective. So, you might be okay according to some standards. And you’re okay enough to have control on yourself and your ‘voodoos. Not okay enough to speak full and proper yet. Questionably okay enough to move and attempt to satiate the stupid fucking wiggler urges as tell you to go burrow in something warm and soft and safe.

Karkat makes a quiet uncertain noise and tries again, “Gamzee?”

You honk quietly, still basically wordless, as you probably will be for a while now, but honking is easy ‘nough if it makes Karkat less worried on of you. You get this remembering of what he might have once said that it would.

“What, I,” Karkat halts, then says, “Okay, honking, great, that helps. Real informing, I now suddenly understand all the mysteries of the vast universe and the meaning of life and all that hoofbeast manure.”

You smile, thinking it funny but not having the energy to laugh. You manage to move your nugbone, so you can look at Karkat before muttering, “Honk honk motherfucker.”

Karkat kind of laughs, then catches himself and says, “Glad to see you back in the life of the living. You scared the living shit out of everyone, I hope you know that.”

You hum and Karkat gets serious, “No seriously, your psionics fucked everyone up. Congratulations, asshole, I have no idea what everyone else saw in their terror hallucinations,” you close your gander bulbs, listening to Karkat's voice as he goes on, “but Feferi and Equius were crying and Sollux had a fucking helms overload. Aradia isn’t even anywhere around to calm him down, Helmsman had to quarantine him. So, thanks very fucking much for that, bulge face. Hey, hey no, wake the fuck up.”

You open your gander bulbs with a soft confused noise. Karkat sighs, pinching the bridge of his cartilaginous nub and saying, “Okay, wild idea here. You seem to be exhausted, which I can’t blame you for, so how about I help you get to the block you slept in last time you stayed the night here?”

You grunt, not minding the sound of any of those things. Karkat looks at you and says, “So I’m going to attempt to help you stand now, okay?”

You blink and wait for him to help you, and after a minute he scoots closer to you and seems to be offering his shoulder. You put your arm over his shoulder and he manages to lift you up with some effort. Fucker’s strong as hell, is a thought that makes your face get flushed slightly.

Right in this motherfucking moment, with your family’s safety all certain to you upon hearing Feferi straight true tell you and others as there won’t be no war, with Karkat all supporting you even now as he ain’t got no need to do so, with him helping and caring about you through a flip out of major motherfucking degree, with your pan too tired to throw up fearful blockades to prevent you from letting others get too close and hurt you too deep, you think you can all be admitting at yourself that you are honest pale for Karkat.

You ain’t sure if this could go to rot, but right now, you can be admitting and accepting that having pale feelings is certain a thing what is being to happen undoubtedly. It ain’t just no brief crush or something as is only to happening because of what situation you were in, you want to be Karkat’s moirail. You want him to care for you, and you want to care for him, and you want to just. Feel safe with him.

You ain’t got no idea if he wants the same, if he got any feelings for you at all, and you ain’t got no clue as how you could, or should, all be to handle this. You’re too motherfuckin tired to truly think of a way to handle this revelation, so you just decide to let things happen as they happen as he helps you walk to the block he spoke on.

Chapter Text

“And then she has the fucking gall to use it to seduce someone else,” Karkat shouts, throwing his arms up from where he’s been pacing in circles during this particular rant.

You are laying back against the loungeplank sluggishly and you ain’t total certain if he’s talking about some show or movie, or if this was a real-life story. He brought you to the block, and after figuring out that the shitty too-soft pile was an improvised sleeping pile, he put the cushions back in the loungeplank and chairs, before telling you to rest on the loungeplank and throwing the towels into the ablutionblock hastily. You had requested him to stay with you, so he stayed, talking to you about random shit to keep you from fucking off into “bullshit reverse Shangri-fucking-la”. You weren’t totally listening as he spoke this time, to be honest. You more just heard the drone of his voice and registered random bits of sentences. It kept you well enough, now that you weren’t fully freaking out with the past trying to all take over your senses unpleasantly. Still, every so often, Karkat would pause – sometimes in the middle of a sentence – and ask you if you were still here, just a quiet little check up on your state. You smiled at him softly and honked quietly each time he asked. He’d sigh or scoff and then go back to whatever he had been talking about, like nothing had happened.

It’s been nice.

Time to fuck it up.

“Hey,” you say quietly.

Karkat halts and turns to look at you, blinking as he says, “Holy shit it talks.”

You laugh a bit dryly, still tired and a small amount of pan-numb from the crying and mental break down, muttering, “Motherfucking miracles, right?”

Karkat scoffs and rolls his gander bulbs and asks, “What did you want to say?”

The fear in you all thrums loudly to the rhythm of your pump biscuit, threatening to destroy everything in sight. You can’t back down, you only hope you can survive the tidal wave.

It still takes a moment of opening and closing your talk blaster before you finally manage to all tell at him, “I’m pale for you.”

Karkat goes bright red and his talk blaster falls open. You look away from him and mutter, “Sorry.”

“What-wait a fucking second, why are you apologizing,” Karkat snaps out the question. You shrug with a noise and avoid looking at him.

Karkat makes a loud frustrated growl-clicking noise that startles you into looking at him, and you see he is staring at the ceiling with his prongs looking like he wants to choke something or claw out someone’s guts.

You shrink a little bit, and Karkat sighs loudly before saying, “I’m pale for you too, you shit mime.”

The tidal wave hits you unexpected, and it ain’t the fear you expected as knocks you on your ass, but palest motherfucking pity.

A quiet, “oh,” all escapes your talk blaster but then your pan kind of just blanks out as you stare at Karkat.

He avoids your stare for a while, standing still with his shoulders hunched and his face burning bright red. After a long moment of silence, your pan turns back on and tells at you to say something.

“I be to offer my diamond to you,” you say all hush-quiet and still mildly stunned, “If you have want of in it.”

Karkat looks at you, a sharp trilling sound leaving his squeal pipette and his gander bulbs wide with shock, and after a second, he all hoarsely hisses out, “Shit, you can’t just say things like that without a warning Gamzee, you’re going to give me a heart attack, or a fucking diamond-analogous organ malfunction.”

You laugh slightly, more nervous than any other thing, shrugging vaguely, and Karkat kind of hesitates before saying quietly, “I’d like to try to be in a moirallegiance with you though. As fucking stupid as of an idea as it might turn out to be.”

You laugh sharp and loud, smiling nervously with a heated face as you say, “I got all kinds of motherfucking nervous uncertainty on me over if this will turn to rot as well.”

You hesitate before saying, “Fear ain’t stopping my feelings though, so. Here I am, floundering around like a damned fish outta water.”

Karkat laughs, a nervous but happy sound, “I thought you hated fish, when did you suddenly become one?”

You chuckle softly, shrugging and saying, “Ain’t never claimed as all my analogies and similes and metaphors and shit all made cognitive sense in succession. But as my family all do like to sometimes remind me jokingly, I be a pair of fins closer to being a fish then most other purples.”

Karkat blinks and asks, “Wait, you have fins? Do you mean those small auricular fins, like Adamel has?”

“Yeah,” you say, “Ain’t too common among purples, maybe a prongful at most have ‘em within the family, and that prongful includes me and Adamel.”

“Can I, uh,” Karkat goes a little red in his face again and asks, “Can I see?”

You feel yourself getting flustered for no really good reason, then decide to give him a bit of a challenge to ease your own restlessness, smirking as you say, “Dunno, can you get over here and all make me show ‘em to you?”

Karkat glares at you slightly, and you fully expect him to not all face your teasing challenge, but just as you get ready to go easy on him and move your hair out of the way for him, he surprises you by marching up to you. He stops when he’s standing close in front of you, hesitating before slowly reaching for you, you all staying perfectly still as he uses his prongs to tuck your hair gently behind your auricular shells. You stare at him blankly for a moment as he looks at you.

“You’re blushing,” he mutters quietly.

“Uh,” you manage, then, “Yeah. Um. These here fins all make it too easy to see shit like that so I all started hiding them so no motherfucker could know when I got embarrassed or flustered.”

Karkat takes a step back, raising an eyebrow at you as he asks, “So how many times have you been blushing around me without me even being able to notice?”

You keep your talk blaster shut tight on that shit as your auricular shells burn, because by the Holy Messiahs, you can’t even try to count the number of times as it’s happened at this point.

Karkat chuckles and mutters, “I’m going to take a wild guess, and say that by how much more purple your fins and auricular shells just got, that it’s a fucking lot. Not fair Gamzee, I don’t have makeup to hide my blushing face like you do.”

You smile softly and Karkat sudden asks, “Wait, I just thought of something. You’ve briefly talked about the really confusing terms faithful call other trolls. So, what would I be now? Still kin or whatever?”

The heat in your face and auricular shells increases with fierce burning vengeance as you say, “Uh, well. Calling you Karkat is a familiar and friendly term all by itself. Suppose in part it depends on you. What would have comfort for you?”

“I’m not sure,” Karkat replies all as if he’s questioning what he be saying. “Give me some examples, I guess.”

“Um,” you glance away from Karkat as you mutter, “There’s best brother, a common term as faithful use for their quadrants. Saying just my brother works as well, though that ain’t only a quadrant thing. Best friend or my pale brother both be, uh, blatant announcement of being in quadrants. Uh. Also, terms of endearment can be all used. Though those are all manner personal and usual used only in private.”

“Well uh,” Karkat says, looking flustered slightly, “What are you comfortable with?”

You shift slightly and say all hesitatingly, “Well, uh, this be. All manner of new, for both of us. So, I suppose my brother or best brother would all be at my level of comfort. What’s yours?”

Karkat fakes a cough like to focus himself and says, “The, my brother, that sounds good to me.”

You nod and swallow as you say all wound tight with anxiety, “Aight.”

“Don’t, don’t force yourself with it though,” Karkat continues and you feel something all unknot in your thorax. “Just Karkat is fine as well.”

After a pause in the conversation, Karkat says, “I’m going to proposition something to you, feel free to say no.”

You blink and wait for him to go on. Karkat takes a breath before saying, “I know we just started this tentative new relationship, but I’d really like to have an actual feelings jam with you, probably in some kind of pile that we build together.”

You kind of startle a bit at hearing him say ‘relationship’. It’s just like. Hearing him say it all makes the realization hit you. That this is serious, that he is serious. About you, about this, about your relationship. Holy Mirthful Messiahs.

Karkat frowns at you, fuck, and you belatedly mutter, “Uh, sure. Sounds real nice.”

After a pause, Karkat goes on to say, “I meant it when I said feel free to say no. I’d much rather you say no then do it if you aren’t certain about it.”

“No, no fuck,” you say, putting your prongs up as you say, “ain’t like that. Ain’t like that in the least Karkat, trust at me. I’m honestly all in for that feelings jam as you all just offered at me, don’t doubt at that. I’m.”

You glance away, hesitating before admitting, “I’m just being all nervous. Ain’t never done nothing like this before.”

Karkat blinks and asks, “What do you mean?”

You laugh nervously and say, “Ain’t ever had a true moirail in times before. Suppose Feferi and I all had a mock of it sweeps ago, but it weren’t close to being like this at all.”

Karkat’s eyebrows raise as he asks, “Wait you and Feferi had a past relationship?”

You grimace and say, “I wouldn’t all call it a relationship. While she and Eridan were all broken up few sweeps back, she and I were platonic chatting friends. It wasn’t nothing serious for either of us in truth, she just wanted some familiar face to jab at, and I all just happened to be willing to keep her company ‘cause I was being lonely without my family around. We had all agreed on that neither of us felt feelings true at each other, and eventually separated on fairly amicable terms before she and Eridan got back together pale.”

Karkat hums a bit thoughtful and you kind of apprehensively mutter, “So uh, how all do we start a feelings jam?”

Karkat states, “If we’re having our first fucking feelings jam, we need an actual goddamn pile to show for it.”

You blink at him and after a slight pause, Karkat sighs and softens his look before saying, “At least, I’d like to make a pile, if that’s okay with you.”

“For all I care we could be in front the whole empire on cold hard slab and it’d still be the best motherfucking thing far as I’m concerned,” you say honestly. Karkat glares at you as like he’s looking for a lie and you move your shoulders up in a slight shrug, “Don’t need much besides you.”

Karkat frowns as he says, “Maybe, but I want to give you more. I want to give you the best I can. So, yeah. Making a pile. That’s a thing I want to do for you. Do you want that?”

You ignore the burn in your face and on your auricular shells, looking away and feigning innocence best you know how, “Well, a brother wouldn’t protest if that’s really what’s in a motherfucker’s pump biscuit to motherfuckin get to be doing.”

You look back at him with a gentle smile, “And it’d be remiss of me to not fucking help, uh, help my bro get done what makes his pump biscuit sing happy and satisfied.”

Karkat snorts and mutters, “I’d say let’s get this done, but there’s kind of jack shit that’s good for an actual pile in this block, so um.”

Karkat goes red again as he suggests, “My block?”

You smile and say, “Sure, don’t be seeing why all not.”

Karkat sighs all relieved and with that, he turns and starts walking off and out this block. You follow him, smiling softly and being quiet. It’s quite a long walk, as Karkat makes evident by all muttering at you that his block is near on the opposite side of the training compound. Some of his battleship crew members all pass by you both, and he flicks them off before they can say anything, while you laugh and smile as you all put your thumbs up at them. As Karkat oh so kindly informs you, that is not how you flick off prying fucking assholes. You mock surprise at this information and he huffs at you, blushing faint red as you both continue on. You don’t care on for what others think on you or your newly formed quadrant, but you do all remember as that Karkat got a tendency for preferring privacy, and you figure that includes the fuck outta this, so you don’t all do nothing as would all encroach upon his confidentiality. Your pan whispers that your family’s bound to give you so much shit about this when they find out, and also mutters that they will probably all find out before you even get to returning to church. You don’t really give a shit, so the thought all disappears with your lack of concern on it.

Eventually, you and Karkat stop at his door and he opens it. You walk in, Karkat closing the door behind you both. You walk over to where the loungeplank is in his living block, not knowing what to do. Karkat all starts at taking off his armor and the burn in your face comes back once again, having all never seen him with his armor off. You ain’t needing no guidebook to be able to know at the implications. Ain’t much more literal as you can get then to all take protection off in front of someone. Means you trust them, means you don’t need to be protected or shielded when all you’re near them. You and your family might all not wear armor all the time as like the Imperial Army does, but that don’t stop you from knowing at the importance.

When he finally gets the armor off, you all see as he be wearing a black long sleeve t-shirt with a high collar and black jeans. For the first time, you all see his sign, which is looking like the number sixty-nine sideways. His sign is colored gray, like the text as he uses on trollian. He places the armor down on a chair silently.

After a moment, he looks to you with red on his face as he asks, “Uh, ready to get started?”

“Sure am,” you reply quietly.

Karkat and you both start shuffling about, going through the shit in his block and the shit in both your sylladexes, making small talk about what should and what shouldn’t go in as you choose items and build up a pile. It takes a while, but you both eventually get a pile made, mostly snuggle planes and pillows, with some well-read books that Karkat likes and some of your wicked elixir bottles. It’s a nice-looking pile, in truth. You and Karkat stand in front of it when you’re done, staring at it, not speaking a word. Motherfuck, when did all this awkward just up and decide to get all comfortable between the both of you?

“Okay so,” Karkat says, all bluster and false confidence.

“Yeah,” you say pointlessly.

“Fuck this nervous shit,” Karkat barks but does not move.

“I hear you Karkat,” you agree mildly.

For all you’ve both technically been in a pile together before, it wasn’t a pile as both of you made and it wasn’t a pile as you both know is intended for going on at feelings jams both currently and in the future. You may have all been in another pile before, but this is your pile; yours and Karkat’s. That, that truly is a motherfucking amazing thought as to have. Plus, this time, you be all to climb into it together all mutually intended romantic.

“We’re being fucking cluckbeasts about this,” Karkat mutters.

You look at Karkat and ask of him, “So, uh, lets tell this anxious motherfucking feeling to go fuck off together? By getting in the pile all at once in some what kind of synchronization?”

Karkat looks at you, then slowly says, “Yeah. Yeah, fuck yeah, let’s do this.”

You smile a bit shyly, nervous as you turn to the pile. It’s well large enough for you both to fit on it comfortable, so you and Karkat walk to the pile, both of you all crawling up onto it and cozying yourselves into it. The pile crinkles, plastic complaining against both of your weights, but you get a comfy spot as to lay down in after a moment. You’re laying on your side in a loose grub curl and Karkat is facing you and laying on his side as well. You stare at each other and one of you should say something, right?

“Okay so,” Karkat gets there first and you ain’t even the smallest bit surprised. He always has words all motherfuck ready in his talk blaster instead of trapped and hiding in his pan like yours do sometimes. Though you guess you’ve seen his words get caught as well, but you don’t want for remembering such unpleasant things while trying to have your first true pile and first ever feelings jam.

Karkat says, “Since we were talking about past relationships, or lack thereof, I suppose I should tell you that Sollux and I have a complicated history because we’ve been hatefriends for so long. No official quadrants, mostly just two fucking young idiots flirting and trying to figure out how the fuck romance even works. Similar story with Terezi, we were dumb pupa and flirted red and black at random intervals but never had anything official. I did have Kanaya for an official moirail back when I was six, and though we separated when we were eight we’re still good hatefriends.”

Karkat pauses, then asks, “That doesn’t bother you, does it?”

You laugh slightly, saying, “Why should it? Shit in the past don’t change the present. Be hatefriends with whoever the motherfuck you want, ex or not, long as they don’t try for killing you I ain’t got no issue with them.”

Karkat scoffs and says, “I don’t think any of my hatefriends would try to do that, not only because they are typically amicable with each other, but also because they aren’t that stupid. I’m not a fucking weakling, you don’t get to be the leader of the motherfucking Imperial Army without being competent in all the aspects a leader of a military force needs. Including the ability and mental fortitude required to kill.”

You were smiling throughout that, and now as it seems he’s done you say, “I know, your skills ain’t alluded my attention Karkat. Grand or not, training at church teaches not only skills, but how to recognize skills as others have all honed in them.”

Karkat hesitates before he sighs and mutters, “I still don’t get how you can be willing and able to put up with me and my shitty attitude. I mean, I know I come off as rude, if not worse. The insults and scorn, that’s basically my automatic response. It’s not a personality that usually fosters any red feelings, let alone pale.”

You frown and put a finger in front of his talk blaster, all mildly reprimanding him, “Hush. There’s no need for you to be so harsh at yourself. You’s a vulgar and irritable motherfucker for sure, wits and insults as sharp as your sickle. Might not be a poet, but you sure the fuck know all how to spin those words something fierce. Plus, you is being tough as all fuck, don’t doubt at that. Can even all suplex me, which is still being to surprising for me, mostly because of what height difference all between us. But you got a soft side at you, right in the core of your soul. Your care is brash and standoffish, but meaningful. For all you got resilience, you got just as much sensitivity, even if it seems to be that you don’t like being to admit at it.”

Karkat’s face is red as he scoffs and rolls his gander bulbs, all seeming to discredit your words. All unthinking and focused at making him see that you be dead serious, you cup your free prong over his cheek, looking at him in the gander bulbs as you say, “I done saw at that Karkat, with my own two motherfucking gander bulbs. Don’t be disputing what I can recount with pure clarity.”

Karkat stares at you, swallowing slightly, and you feel yourself go all pity-soft, moving your prong off his cheek as you whisper, “There’s other bits of you as I’m all just starting to be seeing better at as well. All the stress as you shoulder and pile up as if it’s your fortification, the sleeplessness and tenseness. You are bound to grind yourself into dust eventually going like that. Need to relax sometimes, need to slow down, before you break yourself.”

There’s also all the harshness he gets at himself, but you hold your tongue on that for now. Still too new for going into that shit, some part of you says. You heed at that part of you, thinking it could all be Messiahs guiding you to do this quadrant shit right because you sure the fuck don’t normally know at things such as that. You look into his gander bulbs as you say, “You done earned my trust and respect, as well as my palest pity, my brother.”

Karkat goes bright red in his face and you smirk, muttering, “May all be dumb as fuck sometimes, I know at that I all ain’t being the smartest nor quickest motherfucker out there in existence, trust as I know that certainty very well. But I know what I feel as being truthful, and I do have desire in of trying to take care at you. This relationship is a commitment, and that’s a thing what even this foolish clown won’t ever be to take as trivial.”

You bump your forehead against his, a soft little headbutt as you murmur, “That I hold promise to.”

Karkat makes a quiet noise that you can’t place the emotion behind, then quietly mutters, “I really need to drill it in your think pan that you’re going to cause a major organ failure if you keep talking like that, don’t I? The lines you just fed straight into my pump biscuit are going to fucking cause me to have a damn cerebral convulsion from too many saccharine statements.”

You look at him and he glances away all fluster-shy as he mutters, “Also, to the genuine surprise of everyone, the insane fucker is the one who does the first shoosh pap of this moirallegiance.”

You feel your face and auricular shells burn real fierce and sudden as you pull your face away from his and quickly say, “Wasn’t a shoosh nor a pap. Said hush and, and cupped your cheek. Those are being two totally motherfucking different things.”

Karkat chuckles softly, saying, “You have no reason to be embarrassed over it, that’s part of what moirails do, right?”

You glance away with a grumble. Moirails. Your pan whispers despite yourself. He said moirails, motherfuck that makes your insides squirm all happy.

Karkat laughs as he makes a joke of saying, “Unless you were hoping to be the first one to be shoosh papped or something.”

Your auricular shells burn and Karkat does a quiet and small gasp, saying, “Holy shit, you were, weren’t you? Oh my god.”

You partly hide your face behind one of your prongs, near fucking mortified. You were, you totally and completely fucking was, without even being to realize it yourself, and he saw straight into that without even trying, motherfuck.

Karkat pauses to just look at you for a moment before speaking at you, “Well, since you told me why you’re pale for me, I think it’s only fair if I do the same for you.”

He pauses slightly, and you lower your prong to look at him before he continues, “You’re unpredictable and eccentric, but you’re not stupid, as much as you give off that impression. I know and have seen how clever you are with certain things, even if you are impulsive as fuck. Sometimes I nearly wonder if you do that shit on some kind of religious principle, I honestly wouldn’t put it past you with how devoted you are. You also care platonically for other trolls, even outside your family, in a way that was honestly surprising with all the horror stories I’ve heard about faithful trolls. Plus, you have that tendency to just appear so goddamn toothless sometimes, it’s fucking strange as hell. Also, there’s still an absurdly large number of things that you, to my major disbelief at times, are genuinely fucking unaware of. I mean hell, what idiot worries about wounds only once they have had a negative effect? That and how unkempt you are in general; like your hair, my fucking god Gamzee, have you ever heard of a brush?”

You laugh slightly, pity-warm before grinning sharply at him as you teasing ask, “So you want for to take care on of my own capricious self?”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and shoves at your shoulder lightly, saying, “I know how dangerous you are under all the layers of jokes and pleasant smiles, fucking trust me on that. I still feel like I have to protect your dumb ass, even though I know you could probably manage to ravage a frighteningly large number of trolls on your own and barely break a sweat. So yeah, you do need to be taken care of in some ways, but I know what you need more than that is for someone to keep you in fucking line. Keep you from flipping out and accidentally killing some poor troll because of your mental psychosis. You’re the unstable half of this relationship, don’t forget that. So, in case the sentiment was at all unclear, I’m pale as hell for you too.”

You might not all know what things all count as flirting sometimes, but you got a fair enough motherfuckin knowledge on of romantic shit as to say, especially with you both so newly quadranted. Your brother, your moirail, motherfuck, he be a true romantic and you be all spoiled by his words.

Toothless, he said, the motherfucking oldest of old things as to call you weak and pitiable. Him so motherfucking breakable to you, him as seen and faced your rage and anger without fear, him as tries so hard to be at forceful and uncaring on things he holds dear but fails, him as tries to protect every goddamn motherfucker he can. He calls you toothless, not as insult, not underestimating you, just motherfucking purest pale romantic gesture. Even him speaking all highly on of your devotion to the faith, and you know it was just a passing comment to him, all a statement of fact and not a true intended complement. But he said that, and he don’t even motherfucking comprehend what that motherfucking means to you, to hear him speak at it so. Him speaking his pity of you so clear and honest while all still making it known as you are to be kept by him, kept in line, kept safe, kept stable, kept taken care of, kept. Words as no other has spoken at you, let alone so sincere and romantic.

A deep satisfied purr all rumbles out of your chest and Karkat says all breathless and quiet, “Holy fuck you’re purring.”

You feel yourself all getting a bit flush in the face as you reply quietly, “It’s all what does happen when I am pleased, like most motherfucking trolls.”

Karkat chuckles softly and mutters, “Glad to know that you at least have some normal reactions.”

You snort and look at him, teasingly asking, “You so harsh on me, is this what I’m to expect from now on?”

Karkat rolls his gander bulbs and says, “Well someone has to teach you basic non-faithful troll interaction.”

You chuckle slightly, “And someone ought to all make sure you don’t work yourself to your unfunny death.”

Karkat smiles at you, that lopsided one as is honest and pure happy. You could be to fucking die from pity at the sight of it. You might die from pity at the sight of it. Motherfuck.

After a pause, Karkat quietly requests at you, “Hey, would you mind telling me what the hell the whole thing with Nepeta and Equius was?”

“Oh yeah,” you say, pausing and tilting your nugbone slightly as you explain, “It was right after I ran away from church all fearful. Was already terrified and all that shit, when Equius all walked up to me ‘cause he remembered me from when we were young. I flipped out in fear and started attacking him, lost any amount of control as I had, my training took control in some ways, but my rage was blind as fuck. Nepeta all did what any sensible and good moirail would all do when they saw at some motherfucker as would threaten to kill their moirail. I remember pieces of it, punching him, him all having his prongs up to show him weaponless, me drawing my clubs, Nepeta’s claws scratching my face, both me and her being held back. Then the doctorturer’s, getting pinned down, trying to bite someone, getting something shoved in my talk blaster so as I couldn’t try that again, and being stitched up.”

“Well shit,” Karkat says. There’s silence for a moment before Karkat speaks again, asking you, “The medicullers at least gave you something for pain before stitching you up, right?”

You shrug and say, “Can’t remember, they might have. If they did, it didn’t work all that great.”

Karkat winces and grimaces, muttering, “Fucking hell.”

“It’s in the past,” you say simple and truthful, “it don’t bother me now.”

You pause before saying, “Though I ain’t had no clue as they were generals. We ain’t exactly on speaking terms. In fact, I ain’t never had a single thought as I’d ever motherfucking see them again. If I knew at such a thing, I would’ve avoided the fuck out of them at all costs.”

Just like you might have avoided the fuck out of Nitram, even for all you’re mostly glad to have seen them, just on principle of what they knew you when you were six.

Karkat shrugs, muttering, “Fuck, I can hardly blame you with how intent on killing you Nepeta is.”

You grimace with a low grumbled growl, and Karkat all goes on to ask at you, “By the way, when you say blind rage, do you mean like how you seemed to be in a rage while fighting those random shits?”

You laugh slightly, amused as he would think them the same in his misunderstanding, and say, “Nah, nah, that weren’t even motherfucking close as to being blind rage. That was pure holiest rage, my brother.”

“Can I ask, what the exact fuck, is the goddamn difference,” Karkat asks with a slight scowl aimed at you.

You try to figure out how to explain, shifting slightly and bringing up both your prongs like as you’re going to make a show with them or some shit, but they mostly end up just hanging there awkward as you speak, “Well, like, uh. Holy rage is kind of what clowns be trained as to do? Shit, how the fuck do I get explaining.”

You pause to try to think of how to explain before you go on, “Holy rage is, it’s used for to kill heretics. When a faithful troll holy rages, it’s anger as like you been wronged or provoked, funneled as to grant strength and such, for war and death intentional. Holy rage is something as be full controlled, they know what they be doing, and they bring death to heretics for the Messiahs. Blind rage is all, well least for me and what I know on them, it’s when a motherfucker gets all threatened or frightened so bad as they lose control and lash out all like, unthinking instinctual. Though you can blind rage on just provoking anger, and holy rage from a threat, but I ain’t knowing no better way as to explain it at you.”

“So basically,” Karkat all asks, “purposeful use of fury for fighting verses instinctually lashing out at a threat or provocation?”

“Yeah, that all sounds right about correct,” you say while nodding, relieved and surprised he was able to understand and summarize it so simple like that.

Karkat pauses before asking, “So the holy rage thing, you said that was for your religion? So, does that mean it’s not the kind of thing you want to be calmed from? I’m asking to make sure I don’t be an asshole about your religious beliefs.”

You hum as you think, appreciating that he is being considerate enough as to ask, because you hadn’t even thought it would be in question, so you wouldn’t have mentioned it. Eventually you say, “Ain’t a problem to be calmed after the heretics are dead. Holy rage don’t usually all disappear on its own after the heretics be dead.”

Karkat frowns and asks, “How would I be able to tell the difference?”

“Well,” you say slowly, “I suppose as I was all a bit close to a blind rage when I flipped out earlier.”

Karkat’s face goes red and you continue, “Blind rage ain’t a phrase I use metaphorical either. Don’t truly have the ability as to recognize any motherfucker. I’ve went and blind raged at my family, Karkat. Praise Messiahs as my family be well motherfucking used to that shit happening, so they were able as to stop me without getting hurt.”

Karkat’s brow raises as he asks, “So what did they do to stop you?”

“Held me back until I tired myself out, more or less,” you mumble, feeling yourself getting a little heated with embarrassment. “Or talked me out of it before I flipped out, much all like how I spoke at you when you were all close to flipping the fuck out, and like all you just helped me out of my fucked-up pan state by speaking at me and keeping me centered in reality.”

Karkat hums for a moment, all as like he’s thinking, before he looks at you and quietly asks, “You already want to be back at your church again, don’t you?”

You sigh out your cartilaginous nub and say all quiet-wistful, “Yeah.”

You look at him all meaningful and whisper, “Missed hive so bad while doing at conscriptions, should all have returned there sooner. I belong at my hive, at my church, not up in space.”

“What are we going to do about finding time for each other,” Karkat asks quietly as he frowns at you, his brow furrowed.

You pause before you all quietly ask of him, “You think as I won’t speak at you even when we can’t see each other personal?”

“No,” Karkat says sharply, you reach out, pressing a prong against his chest to try to calm him some. He settles slight and says quieter, “No, I just. Long distance relationships are hard, Gamzee. I know that personally. We just started this quadrant, the fact that we both have to be away from each other is something that could strain our relationship, and that just worries me.”

You frown and say, “You got more experience with this then I do, so you do all probably have fair reason for your concern.”

Karkat shrinks some and you smile gentle at him, speaking soft, “I ain’t too worried though. The diamond we got together shines bright as the full moon, I ain’t ever gonna forget about you, my brother. I’ll find time for you, I got patience aplenty and can wait as long as you need. I’ll find time, somehow, some motherfucking way, I will find time to come to you.”

“That is fucking saccharine as hell Gamzee,” Karkat mumbles, sounding all flustered about it. “I mean, you aren’t the only one who needs to make sure to find time for our relationship, this is a mutual thing. But fuck if you don’t somehow manage to say the type of romantic shit I’ve only read in my fucking novels.”

You just smile and purr at him, all too happy as to provide him with some sentimentality. As romantic as he was towards you, you are happy to see as he enjoys the same romanticism being directed at him.

After a slight pause, Karkat mutters, “Can I snuggle with you?”

Your purr gets deep, your chest rumbling as you murmur softly, “Ain’t got no better thing as I can think on, then to be all cuddled close with you.”

Karkat goes red, before shifting closer to you, wrapping his arms around you. His nugbone and horns fit perfectly under your chin, and you be ignoring the slight tingle of instinct telling you to be at fear. You know he ain’t got no desire to hurt you and the fact that he’s just the right size for this just makes you want to melt into a puddle of pale goo. You slowly wrap your arms around him as well, a thrumming purr coming out of your squawk blaster as you close your gander bulbs. You breathe even and feel pleasantly tranquil as you feel as he is all to finally relaxing. Your pan is whispering an echo of finally, a song soft and triumphant that hums through your bones. His leisure is all to be causing you to calm all in reciprocal serenity, which was not even a thing you knew could be to occur. He all eases in your hold until eventually he sighs soft, like satisfaction, and his breath starts sounding like he’s getting close to sleep.

You rouse yourself from your own half-dosing state a bit at realizing this, softly muttering to him, “Ain’t wanting to make you sleep out your ‘coon.”

There’s a pause before Karkat speaks up, soft and quiet, “Actually, can I tell you something?”

“Anything,” you whisper your reply unhesitatingly. “Ain’t a single thing as you should all feel like you can’t speak at me. Anything as you would want for to tell me, I all will always get to listening at, and that ain’t bound to ever be changing.”

Karkat burrows his face into your chest a bit, then speaks all slightly muffled, “This week has sucked fucking ass and nook, simultaneously, in the worst conceivable way imaginable. Not only have I been stressed to my upmost limits between the potential war and the fucking random attack on that planet, my fucking daymares have decided to terrorize me more than usual. I can’t even tell if it’s the usual brand of fuckery I deal with occasionally, or if being around so many purples at once was doing stupid shit to my pan. Add on top of that the fact that I’ve barely been able to get any significant sleep basically since I met you. The only day where I was strangely able to sleep uninterrupted by others or my own pan, was that embarrassing and awkward as fuck day we spent in the cave. So, uh, if you’re okay with it, I’d like to sleep here. Because, well.”

Karkat pauses before whispering barely above a breath, “I think I might be able to get better sleep here with you.”

You squeeze him a little tighter at that, your purr going loud and deep, stunned by his pitifulness as you murmur at him, “Sounds all like a thing as I’d greatly enjoy, my brother.”

Karkat purrs quietly and you smile and close your gander bulbs, purring loud and happy. Everything feels motherfucking great right now and it’s like to stay that way, with him in your arms all warm reciprocal pale pity.

Chapter Text

You wake up, feeling all comforted and safe, cuddled up close to Karkat with his back up against your chest and your face resting on his nugbone. His hair tickles your cartilaginous nub slightly as you breathe in his scent. His aroma is hot like a fire without smoke, and with the undercurrent of salt or ocean. You wonder how the fuck that is, if he lived by the ocean such as you did, but you can’t see a reason as he would have if he wasn’t a fish or a near-fish like you. You like the smell though.

It reminds you of nice warm nights on your beach, laying out on the sand and breathing and enjoying the fuck out of just being alive while looking at the stars and moon. Course you were smashed out your pan on sopor all the time back then, but the smell of warm salt and ocean is still nostalgic and calms you. You wonder if maybe that’s part of why you find him such a comfort. Then again, you ain’t never smelt him like this before, and your pan all does recall at a few times as you caught a brief whiff of Feferi’s scent. Strong and cold and ancient, even as she be the same age as you, all like the deep ocean. Like the deepest darkest parts of the ocean that you’ve only experienced in your daymares, where you can’t hear, can’t see, can’t breathe. Like motherfucking drowning. You don’t remember that being comforting at fucking all. You push it off with a huff out your cartilaginous nub. You weren’t together with Feferi, never true moirails, were just chatting friendly out of convenience and loneliness on your part. You would bet that Karkat’s smell is only a pleasant addition to the fact that you pity him, and the reason he comforts you is being because he earned your trust and respect.

Karkat shifts slightly, stretching and making soft complaining noises. You hum-purr, closing your gander bulbs again.

After a moment of silence, Karkat speaks very quietly, like he ain’t wanting to wake you, “Hey, you awake?”

You smile as you say peacefully, “Yeah.”

Karkat scoffs and asks, “How long have you been awake?”

You half-open your gander bulbs as you mutter, “I just got all to waking, had half a spec to all just be thinking about your smell and how I pity you, before you got up as well.”

Karkat goes all tense and you can feel him shake with fury as he snarls, “If you say I smell like cherries or something even remotely similar, I will flip out on you, I swear to fuck.”

You move to pat his cheek a bit hesitatingly, chin resting on his shoulder as you be saying, “Shoosh?”

Karkat doesn’t get much calmer, but he ain’t snarling no more. You don’t understand why he has issue with the cherries thing, but it’s all too obvious as it’s something that angers him straight to his soul, so you assure him while almost absently patting his cheek, “Nah, my pan weren’t even nowhere near that kind of noise, I promise. So shoosh a little for me.”

Karkat relaxes slightly, the shaking fury dying out as he takes even breaths. You wonder why he would even think that would be a thing as he smelt like. More important, you wonder why it causes him to rage so strong. You don’t ask though, not wanting to press him if he ain’t willing to talk.

“Smell like heat and salt my brother,” you tell him, smiling gently, “Like a nice warm night out by my pupahood beach. Brings my pan to reminiscing a bit I suppose.”

Karkat sighs out, long and quiet, relaxing again as he does so. You quit papping him, seeing as he has calmed down, and he mutters, “Willing to admit you shoosh papped me this time?”

Your face gets all heated as you chuckle and say, “Well, it all is what moirails do, right?”

Karkat scoffs as he says, “Real fucking original Gamzee. Never heard that one before. You’re a goddamn genius.”

You chuckle and Karkat turns around to face you before he cuddles up against you again, almost defiantly, and you snort at him fondly. Even in this, he got a fierceness to him, and that is motherfucking adorable. After a moment, he murmurs to you softly, “Did you know you smell like sea breeze?”

You hum, asking, “I do?”

“That, your makeup, and hints of,” Karkat nuzzles into you slightly and you hear him sniff before muttering into your chest, “I’m assuming it’s that soda you clowns drink, whatever that’s called. It smells sweet like soda anyway.”

You hum, the sound all joining in with your thrumming purr, and you hesitate before whispering, “Pale for you.”

Karkat chuckles softly, whispering, “Pale for you too, you ridiculous clown.”

You purr and nuzzle against his forehead and Karkat mutters, “By the way, if I find your makeup in my hair later, you will never hear the fucking end of it. It better not be some absurd way that you clowns mark your quadrant mates or some shit. Because newsflash, asshole, I don’t want to have to clean clown sludge off me every three fucking minutes.”

You laugh loudly, still purring as you try to speak at him, “What the fuck even, damn. Makeup don’t even come off that easy, so there ain’t no need for your motherfucking snark while we be in the midst of tranquility.”

Karkat huffs and says, “As if, you fucking live off the shit or something. You constantly laugh about it so that’s like. I don’t even know, but it seems positive? Fucking weird ass clown.”

You snort and laugh some more as you say, “Shit, you are calling me straight the fuck out, can’t deny that you well got my motherfucking number on that fact my brother.”

You grin at him, and he grins back slightly, and both of you just smile at each other for a moment before Karkat says, “I do have to get up though, and you probably should get up as well.”

You hum slightly, not quite wanting to move yet, and Karkat huffs at you with a roll of his gander bulbs before he all gets up out of the pile. Aww, you think to yourself as he goes about what all you assume is his usual night routine. You stretch out on the pile, snuggling into the left-over warmth with a soft satisfied sigh and a slight smile.

“Being endearingly pitiful will not convince me to come back to the pile,” Karkat grumbles.

You blink and look to see him glaring at you slightly with a somewhat red face, and you be feeling a little heat rise to your face as well. You get all ready to say how you ain’t had even intended that, when some thought hits your pan and that all comes out your talk blaster instead, “Wait, that all means as you think I’m endearing?”

Karkat goes redder and he hisses out, “Fuck you, of course I do. What else am I supposed to think when I see my moirail being openly relaxed and content?”

Your pump biscuit thumps, your face and auricular shells pulsing with the beat, and you don’t really know how to respond to that. It’s gonna take a while to get used to this, to being all talked at pale-fond, hearing Karkat call you ‘moirail’ and such.

You kind of zone out, staring at his sign on his shirt for a while before you all speak up, “Hey.”

Karkat glances at you, one eyebrow all raised at you in a silent prompt for you to go on. You take the prompt, and all ask him, “Why don’t you use your color?”

Karkat blinks at you and pauses with all a slight humming, looking off to the side as if to think before he says, “Old habit, mostly. Blood anonymity was the only thing that kept me safe on Alternia, for obvious reasons. Plus, news flash, I actually dislike my blood color as much as every other troll? Maybe that’s a surprise to you, I don’t know.”

You frown and say, “But it’s your motherfucking blood. The shit as gives you life and all, it shouldn’t all be something as yourself all does dislike. And who gives a motherfuck if others be hating at it? Blood color’s not a thing as you could control even if you wanted, and you all made it to be as old as you are without dying. Past trials and tribulations what most motherfuckers ain’t got to deal with, since you probably had to be at really careful about being harmed, or showing any emotion as would color your face. Any number of thing as could have all been a danger and yet here you be, living still and all working for the Empress of new.”

Karkat scoffs and bares his teeth slightly, lowly growling, “Fucking barely.”

You blink and Karkat takes a step towards you and the pile you’re still lying on, looking at you fully as he goes on, “I only barely survived, on countless occasions. All because of my blood color. Can you imagine how it would have been if I wasn’t some fucked up mutant? If I was a fucking blue blood, or a violet, or even a goddamn rust. Can you contemplate how much simpler everything would have been if I had managed to be hatched on spectrum? Anywhere on the spectrum?”

You snort and say, “Woulda been too simple for you I all think. You don’t seem to be as the kind to like things too motherfucking simple or easy. You woulda hated it, I all do think.”

Karkat seems stunned for moment and be looking at you as if you had done spoke some deep shit at him. You be a bit curious as to what exact you said to cause this reaction, not thinking you said much as was profound or nothing such as that, but you let it be. If he all sees an unintended meaning as struck him deep and important in what you said, you figure it was by Messiah’s will.

Eventually he mutters, “Fuck, you’re probably right.”

After a pause, he sighs and says, “Fuck it, training can wait a little bit longer.”

He gets back into the pile with you, laying down on his side and saying, “I wanted to ask you a few things anyway.”

You roll over onto your side, smiling with your elbow all propped so you can rest your nugbone against your prong, prompting him with, “What curiosities you got for to ask at me?”

Karkat all asks at you, “I’m curious, when did you start feeling pale for me?”

You feel yourself heat up a little as you answer, “First time as it occurred at me was the day as we spent in a cave together, I think. I suppose there were all some little things before then, but I did not all think of them in that manner until after that day.”

Karkat chuckles slightly, asking, “Would it be weird to say that’s about when I realized how much I was actually pale for you as well?”

You relax a bit, chuckling lightly as you say, “Suppose not. Or if it does be weird, it’s just as weird as what I said, so that’s all like to be moot point or some shit, right?”

“Something like that,” Karkat agrees with a smile, but then he hesitates.

There’s a thoughtful frown on his face as he asks, “So you didn’t remember Equius when you saw him that time you attacked him?”

“Oh uh,” you pause and try to recall, frowning a bit as you say, “Ain’t too sure. At the time as I done flipped out at him, I was already all gone from my pan enough as I couldn’t recall at him in such a state. Though even as if I had, it wouldn’t have motherfucking helped goddamn jack shit. I do all recall at him now, as well as some of what chats we used to have as pupa, and the remembrance ain’t happening with no motherfucking fondness.”

“Okay,” Karkat says, seeming to be trying to figure something out. “So, did you use to talk to Feferi or Eridan when you were young?”

“A little, I all guess,” you reply, wondering what he’s seeking after with his questions.

Karkat nods and asks, “Did you remember Feferi and Eridan when you first met them?”

You hesitate, an idea of what all he wants to know all turning on like a moonbulb in your pan, before muttering, “No, not at first. Took me a couple of nights to remember at them two fish fuckers.”

Karkat seems cautious as he asks, “And Tavros, do you remember him?”

For all you half expected him to ask, you still tense up. Karkat don’t ask again or push, even as you take a long, long ass time to reply.

Eventually you say, “Don’t remember Nitram much at all. But, when I heard at the name, I did all vaguely recall as I used to chat with the motherfucker.”

“So since you two talked on trollian,” Karkat says, “Would reading one of those chats help you remember?”

“Don’t,” you start, pausing with reluctance, “want to.”

Karkat frowns and asks as like he’s looking for clarification, “You don’t want to do what?”

You take a deep breath and sigh out slowly, looking down to all stare at your strut pods before whispering, “I don’t want to remember.”

Karkat pauses before he asks all uncertain, “Anything to do with Tavros?”

“Nah,” you reply easily, still not looking up. “Nitram don’t seem that bad for all I don’t recall our past much.”

Karkat shifts and his fingers gently lift your face up to look at him. Karkat stares at you for a moment and seems to be thinking about what to say.

You mutter at him, “Karkat, there’s a lot of shit as is in my past that I ain’t full willing and ready to speak in detail at you. What I do all recall on of my past ain’t no kindness to me. Lots of shit I honest got no desires to recall all clear and present, if I’m on the level with you.”

“I get that, I really do,” Karkat says, still frowning at you slightly. “Because there are things in my past that I’m not really ready to talk about either. Things I don’t like to remember. I’m not going to make you talk about anything you’re not ready to, but that doesn’t mean you should run from that shit Gamzee. It’s not good to run away from your past, I know that personally. The only way to move on or heal is to face it. I won’t make you, but I think you should read those chats.”

Your soul stings slightly because of his words, for all they were gentle and understanding, and for all moirallegiance is about pale pity, no motherfucker ever claimed a diamond was to be only about being all soft or dull. Sometimes you gotta cut straight into the pump biscuit of pain, even if it hurts, to remove the rot and infection as lies underneath, to try to make it heal better, and a moirail is the only as most would trust to know what is best, the only they would let to all do that for them. You ain’t yet wanting to admit that he’s probably right, and the whole idea is a discomfort at you.

“I’ll get off the topic for now if it’s too sensitive, but we are going to have to talk about this at some point,” Karkat says. “So just think about what I said, alright?”

“I will,” you mutter quietly, glancing away and dreading the night where you have to talk about all the shit in your past.

“That goes for me too,” Karkat says softly, fully cupping your cheek with his prong. “When we’re both ready, we’ll talk to each other about whatever mired bullshit happened in our pasts. Alright?”

Oh, oh, that’s. You smile gentle, the realization as you’ll all get to help him through whatever done caused him lasting pain in his past hitting you deep into your soul, a thrumming song of joyful mutuality.

You look to him as you say, “Sounds good at my auricular sponge clots Karkat.”

Karkat goes bright red at that. Your brother does get flustered fairly easy, and that makes pity flutter in your thorax, and worry tinge pale over how he went about not showing his color on Alternia, before the Condesce all got killed and fed to the fishes. Then your pan wonders if that’s all what actually happened at her corpse, hoping it was, for that would all be the most hilarious fucking shit as you ever goddamn heard at.

After a few seconds, Karkat says, “Okay, as much as I hate to be that fucking guy, you have a planet full of clowns counting on you and I’ve got the Imperial Army to grubsit and ensure they don’t fucking kill each other over quadrant bullshit.”

You chuckle and murmur softly, “Any time as you want for some stress to be alleviated from your shoulders, just ask me and I’ll find my way to you.”

Karkat quietly purrs at that, muttering, “I need to get up before you make me shirk all my duties just to spend the night with you.”

You laugh, smiling gently at him before saying, “Could all be saying much the same myself. Don’t particular want for to leave, but we do all got important shit to do. Plenty time as to spend together in our future, though, so that’s a thing as we can both look forward to.”

Karkat smiles back at you softly, saying, “Yeah, guess you’re right.”

Karkat all gets up once again, donning his armor before he walks with you on your way to the docking bay as holds some of those small autopilot ships and his own ship. It takes a little while, but you all don’t mind seeing as you get to be near your brother for a little bit longer.

Once there, Karkat all shyly speaks up, not looking at you as he says, “I hope you have fun, or uh, whatever.”

You smile softly at him, acting on whim and desires to be romantic as fuck, as you gently grab his prong and bring it up to your talk blaster, before placing a soft and pale-as-fuck kiss on his palm, having some faint recollection of seeing that on a movie or something when you were really young. Your gander bulbs are closed as you murmur a soft earnest prayer, “I call upon the Holy Mirthful Messiahs, praying as they do all bring you peace and safety in my absence, until I can come back into your life to provide you that tranquility and shelter myself.”

You open your gander bulbs half-way, seeing Karkat all bright red down to his neck and his talk blaster hanging open, and you smile softly as you speak to him this time, “May you be peace while I’m away, my brother.”