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Someone wrote in
2012-05-03 09:27 am (UTC)
Honor Duel (Equius/Gamzee [violence])
Something about this feels
You have tried to put your misgiving aside, but it is proving to be difficult to shake. You are having the most horrible sense of
as you go on your mission, to find Gamzee and humbly offer your services as tutor to him. The sinking feeling in your gut as you recognize the highblood on his perch even feels familiar - you cannot shake the feeling that this has all happened before, although it couldn't have. Of course it couldn't be familiar. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
You remember everything from the last few moments - the command from Karkat, the earnest request to Nepeta to stay hidden. You had to protect her; should you die, she is the only one on this asteroid who will you remember you, who will carry her pity of you and tell your glorious story to whatever future generations will come. And then there was the journey, and you had found him, and...
And all of that had led to this. To Gamzee, perched on his gigantic specimen jar, bow in hand, and you, standing far below, and you're having trouble concentrating on your words when everything you say seems to have been said before. It seems almost as if you had rehearsed this, which is ridiculous, isn't it? Even the "joke" that he tells seemed to have been told before.
"We really should talk," you say, if only because it seems like the right thing to say, and because you don't know how to bring up such a trivial thing as this strange feeling during such an important conversation.
He stares back at you. "You really should...." Then, unexpectedly, he stops, trailing off, his already quiet words dwindling to nothing.
"Highb100d?" you say, puzzled.
He laughs then - a high, honking laugh, and utterly mad. "MOTHERFUCKER," he says. "So THAT'S it." He leaps down from the massive jar, landing with ease on his feet, and walks towards you - and you fight a STRONG and nearly irresistible urge to drop down on one knee. This is not the
for that, you tell yourself - you must stand firm, until you are commanded. But the sense of deja-vu has given way to a feeling of wrongness, and you are afraid.
"You wanna know what you REALLY SHOULD do?" Gamzee says, grinning, before you can recover. "You an' me, we should get our MOTHERFUCKING STRIFE ON."
"I... wait," you say, shocked, doing your best to recover. "Highb100d, I humbly protest. There is no need for us to fight. If only I could speak to you, I could help you -"
"SHUT UP," he says, and you do, and not just out of your sudden case of nerves. "YOU WANT ME TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, HERE IT IS. HERE is a motherfuckin' COMMAND from your motherfuckin' BETTER." He steps back and throws the bow and arrow aside. "COME AT ME."
You slowly put up your fists, because you really do not know what else to do - he
your better, and he has commanded this of you, and yet you do not want to do this. He does not need violence, he needs
He needs the knowledge that you have accumulated over many sweeps of study, if he is to ever tap into the potential that he seems to have finally realized that he has. And yet he stands there, pulling out his clubs and holding them aloft, and he seems to be waiting only for your charge... and it is not in you to make the highblood repeat a command.
I must think of this as an honor duel,
you tell yourself.
He asks me to fight with him in order to test my strength. I must not disappoint him.
"Well?" Gamzee asks, his voice deceptively soft, but you can see rage in his eyes, the highblood fury that he has finally chosen to embrace.
You nod, once, and dash forward to join the battle. Finish this quickly, you tell yourself. Knock his clubs from his hands without doing any serious harm - you do not wish to do him harm, and your fists are already shaking with your effort to hold back your own strength. Prove your strength and end this battle, and then you will earn his respect -
One second he is standing there, clubs aloft, and the next - the next he is a blur of motion, and nothing is left of him but the smell of greasepaint. You try to turn and search for him - but slowly,
slowly, and you turn just in time to feel the clubs jab into your stomach.
You are strong, but you still feel pain. The shove pushes you back, leaves you sprawling in the most undignified way, and the shock of it travels directly up into your spine; your head hits the hard stone floor of the asteroid, and you see stars. It's not enough to seriously harm you, and you can feel some of the stones give way under you as you convulse, but it's enough to warn you. This is serious.
"Poor motherfucking little FOOL, is what you are," you hear Gamzee say, from somewhere - where is he? You push yourself up, but you can't see him - and when he speaks again you're
it was from the other corner of the large open place. "YOU'RE SO STUCK ON YOURSELF! So stuck on who YOU are, and all your inheritance was used up BEFORE YOU WERE MOTHERFUCKING BORN and you don't even fucking KNOW IT, don't know all the NOTHING you were s'posed to get is GONE -"
"This," you manage through gritted teeth, "is not
" You don't quite know what these feelings welling up inside of you are. You've long told yourself that your mixture of reverence and hate for Gamzee were perfectly acceptable - the reverence for who he is, the hate for the lowblooded scum he pretends to be. What you're feeling now, for this raving creature who castigates you even though he himself is lost... you don't know. You've never felt it before, not quite like this. You want to grab him by his stained collar and shake him, not as hard as you can but hard enough, and tell him to stop, for his own good, just stop all of this and
"No SHIT it's not! Honor's for WEAK LITTLE IDIOTS! For people who still have something motherfucking COMING TO THEM!" He makes that horrible honking laugh again, and his voice is moving. Lower, ever lower..." But I ain't got NOTHIN', nothing but my ANGER and my VOICE, and I'll sing for you, motherfucker, I'LL SING THE MOTHERFUCKING STARS DOWN and make my own personal MIRACLE if it means we don't gotta go THROUGH this shit anymore -"
Gamzee paused for half a second, apparently to catch his breath - his first and last tactical mistake. You strike with all of your strength - nothing less will do for this, you fear - and catch him just as he is about to leap again - strike him full in the face, watch the bones in his skull cave in as you punch, his eye socket caving in and pulping his eye. No holding back, now. If the Highblood requests you prove your strength, you will do no less.
He lands on his back, his one good eye staring up at nothing, and for a long horrible moment you are sure you've killed him... at least until he sits up and laughs. "Well, ain't that a miracle," he says. His laugh is only barely less terrifying than before. "AIN'T THAT A MOTHERFUCKIN' BEAUTIFUL THING."
"I would not say so," you say. "But it was necessary."
"Necessary, HELL." He stands up and spits blood out of half of a mouth. "It FELT motherfucking GOOD, all up and using all your motherfucking STRENGTH like that, and you might as well SHUT UP about duty and ADMIT it."
You swallow hard - you must not think about that now! There are no towels in sight, and this will require a great deal of dexterity. "I hope you will allow me to give such e%planations later," you say as diplomatically as you can. You have no idea why he's alive, but he needs your attention. "For now I must tend to your injuries -"
"What motherfucking injuries?" he asks, head tilted to the side.
"I..." You stare at him, taken aback - stare at the place where his face is an utter ruin.
"Oh. THAT MOTHERFUCKING INJURY." He laughs that strange gurgling laugh, like he just can't keep the blood out of his mouth. "Lemme just take CARE of that for you."
You must have blinked, then. It's really the only explanation for what happened next. One moment, Gamzee's standing in front of you, face ruined, eye destroyed, indigo dripping down onto his pants - and the next second all of that is gone. His face is freshly painted, save for the familiar claw-marks that immediately make your stomach lurch, and his clothes... you can't quite seem to grasp it. You've never seen a costume like that before; it reminds you of something you've seen many years ago, in one of your moirail's ridiculous manuals, before you forbade her from FLARP entirely. A ridiculous costume, and if not for the ache in your back and the throbbing in your head, you never could take one who wore it seriously -
He shakes his head. "Man," he says, "gets me all motherfuckin' TORN UP inside, seein' you."
"Me?" you ask, puzzled. "You are the one who was injured -"
"Naw," he says, running his fingers over his face. "This ain't a motherfuckin' THING. Just a reminder I thought I needed, an' I hurt someone real SWEET to get it. What I'm talking about is THIS motherfuckin' thing." He reaches out, carefully traces some imaginary line from one side of your neck to the other... and you realize with a sudden shock that it hurts. For a moment your lungs seem to freeze, as if you were suffocating.
as if you were suffocating.
"I... begin to see," you say, the memories beginning to resurface. The arrow that flew true - the bow was truly a highblood's weapon, and his aim was utterly impeccable. And then...
Snap, the bowstring said, and the bow sang as it pulled, utterly taut, around your neck... and you sit in acceptance, bested, waiting -
"So motherfuckin' HUNG UP on teachin' me to take what I want," he said. His fingers are almost tender on your face, now. "And just LOOK AT WHERE IT GOT YOU."
"Yes," you agree, because you finally understand. You know what you would see, should you ever choose to take off your sunglasses and look in the mirror. "That is unquestionably the truth."
"Heh." Gamzee backs away. "Truth and lies don't matter, mothefucker. Figured dying would TEACH you a thing or two."
You force a small smile. It is odd, but the highblood seems to wish it of you. "It takes many teachings to reinforce such lessons," you say. Your lusus told you that long ago.
"Ain't THAT the motherfuckin' TRUTH," he says. "Always thought I'd see you dead before you UNDERSTOOD a goddamned THING. Wish I hadn't been so damned RIGHT."
You are at a loss for words. All that you can think of to do is fall to your knees before him - you should be cross, you should be angry with him, but somehow all of that black rage is gone now, and all you can seem to do is take his bloody, paint-smeared hands and kiss them, a careful kiss on each knuckle, so as not to bruise. This indigo-clad creature may not bruise easily, but you will not risk it. It seems a strange thing to do after such violence... but if this truly is what you believe it is, then what does it matter?
"Sentimental motherfucker," he says, but there's something strange in his voice too. "Fuck, we should've been better friends with your sweet metal girl. Never got nothin' right in time." He bends down and kisses you on the top of your head, and his lips are cool, like water.
"Gamzee," you say, and it's the first time in ages that you've felt right using his true name, but you're not sure why -
"Shoosh," he says, and backs away, pulling his hand away. "Gotta go, motherfucker. Got places to go, PEOPLE to meet. NEW people, more lost motherfuckers in this stupid rigged game, 'cept I got a hand on a couple motherfuckin' CHEATS." His body is starting to grow strange, translucent. He's disappearing, you realize, right in front of you. "Don't get yourself LOST, you STUCK-UP crazy MOTHERFUCKER. Go and WRECK some shit or somethin' til I get BACK -"
And just like that, before you can even say goodbye, he's gone.
You're not convinced, for a moment afterwards, that it even happened at all... until you touch the mark on your neck. It hurts, and the pain is real enough.
What can you do, anyway? You're dead, as best as you can tell. But... well. "Wrecking" things around you has never been a favorite pastime, robots notwithstanding, but under the circumstances it's as likely to cause an appropriate reaction as anything. First, though, you're going to go back and see if Nepeta is still here. There is no way that you intend to embark on this impropriety alone.
The place where Gamzee kissed you still tingles on your forehead, as strong as the pains in your back and your head. You know it's all your imagination, but it feels right, all the same.
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